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The original item was published from 9/21/2023 9:00:00 AM to 9/21/2023 10:02:30 AM.

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Chesterfield On Point - Archive

Posted on: May 12, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Private sector competition, public enhancements increasing access to recycling and cutting costs

Recycling carts

Recycling carts on residential streetPrivate haulers are providing covered rolling carts to Chesterfield curbside recycling customers at no additional cost as part of their service.

With the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority’s (CVWMA) current curbside recycling contract set to expire on July 1, Chesterfield has developed a multifaceted plan to increase access to recycling countywide under a new privatized model.

This fall, Chesterfield will restore seven-day operations at its northern and southern convenience centers, both of which have designated areas for residents to drop off recyclable materials at no charge. 

The county also will place large recycling collection bins this fall at six public parks – Horner, Huguenot, Rockwood, Daniel, Goyne and Dodd – that were chosen to maximize geographic coverage and bring drop-off locations closer to residents’ homes. 

Glass, paper and plastic can be dropped off at the convenience centers and park locations as a single stream of recycling, meaning users don’t have to separate the materials. That work is performed by staff at a privately owned material recovery facility, which will continue to process all recyclables collected in Chesterfield.

Both environmental stewardship enhancements were approved by the Board of Supervisors last month as part of Chesterfield’s fiscal year 2024 operating budget.

In conjunction with the five private haulers currently operating in the county, it’s part of an ongoing effort to provide opportunities for residents who wish to recycle to do so at the lowest possible cost and in a manner that best meets their needs.

Such private-sector options did not exist when CVWMA’s curbside recycling program was established in 1991 to help Richmond-area jurisdictions meet a state requirement of diverting at least 25% of household waste from landfills.

Since then, Chesterfield has seen private haulers enter the marketplace offering bundled trash and recycling collection services. Many large residential communities in the county already have exited the CVWMA program and transitioned to bundled trash and recycling services provided through their homeowners’ associations.

Amid surging costs, and with less than 60% of Chesterfield households participating in curbside recycling through CVWMA, county leaders evaluated various options and concluded that residents can most cost-effectively access curbside recycling through a direct relationship with private haulers.

That finding has been vindicated during the transition away from the current centralized public-sector model. By introducing free market competition into the process, Chesterfield residents are having their recyclables collected from the curbside at a lower price than they would’ve paid under a new CVWMA contract. 

All of the private haulers -- Choice, GFL, Waste Management, TFC and Zan’s – also are providing a large, covered rolling cart to Chesterfield curbside recycling customers at no additional cost as part of their service. 

If you want to sign up with a private hauler, but have not yet done so, contact information for the five companies is listed on the county’s website at chesterfield.gov/recycling.

As a regional leader in environmental stewardship, Chesterfield recognizes the importance of recycling and desires to have a robust program that is available to all households and businesses.

In addition to the cost savings, the new subscription-based model also increases access to recycling for residents living in townhouses, condominiums and apartments. Those developments represent a significant portion of new residential growth in the county, but are not serviced under the current CVWMA contract.

Between the newly competitive private-sector marketplace, expanded convenience center hours and additional drop-off locations at county parks, Chesterfield is confident of exceeding its current waste diversion rate. 

To gauge participation in recycling post-July 1, county staff will closely track both customer counts provided by the private haulers and tonnage of recyclable materials dropped off at convenience centers or park locations. 

Chesterfield also will remain an active member of CVWMA as it embarks on the creation of a regional solid waste plan, promotes continuing education about the benefits of recycling and encourages reduce, reuse and recycle strategies throughout the Richmond area.

To learn more about what materials can and can’t be recycled, visit the CVWMA website or contact your private hauler directly.

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