Sat, Feb

Verde Earthworks wins city's recycling rights

Cottonwood News

Voting 5-to-1, Cottonwood City Council chose Verde Earthworks over Sedona Recycles to collect materials deposited in bins at the only recycling collection site within city limits.

Mayor Diane Joens, Vice Mayor Karen Pfeifer, Councilwoman Linda Norman and Councilmen Tim Elinski and Darold Smith voted in favor. Councilman Terence Pratt voted against. Councilman Duane Kirby was absent.

Rosemarie Shemaitis dumps plastic bottles into a Sedona Recycles collection bin located on city property at 535 S. Sixth St. Starting Friday, July 1, Verde Earthworks will replace Sedona Recycles as the Cottonwood vendor for recycling.For the past 10 years, Sedona Recycles serviced collection bins at the city yard located at 535 S. Sixth St., Public Works Director Tim Costello told council May 17. Starting Friday, July 1, Verde Earthworks will take over the account.

Sedona Recycles’ contract with the city expired in September and will continue on a month-by-month basis until July, Sedona Recycles Community Development Director Meghan Kincheloe said.

Collection sites next to Mingus Union High School and a big box store on State Route 260, which are not under the city’s control, will continue to be operated by Sedona Recycles, Kincheloe said.

In addition, Sedona Recycles is currently scoping out additional sites in Cottonwood to place its collection, she said.

“There’s no hard feelings, although we certainly wish we had been able to keep the contract,” Kincheloe said.

Verde Earthworks was the lowest bidder on the contract with a bid of $20,890, about $3,000 less than Sedona Recycles’ bid of $24,000.

The low bid was based on the cost to haul materials and the value of the materials likely to be collected and sold, Verde Earthworks CEO Kate Blevins said after the meeting.

Blevins, who founded Sedona Recycles, said she applauded the nonprofit for the way it has increased the volume of recyclables it collects, emphasized educating the public about recycling and its successful re-branding since she left in 2006.

“I’m not competing with Sedona Recycles,” Blevins said. “My competition is Waste Management. They haul 200 tons of commodity to the landfill every day.”

“There’s plenty, plenty, plenty,” of recycling materials for Verde Earthworks and Sedona Recycles to collect in Cottonwood, she said.

At the city site alone, nearly 470 tons of recyclable materials were collected in 2010. That amounts to roughly $40,000 a year in income to Verde Earthworks starting in July.

“Obviously the loss in revenue hurts,” Kincheloe said. “We hope that if we do open additional sites in the area we won’t lose the material volumes — that’s what covers wages.”

Fees collected through contracts like the one with Cottonwood cover truck maintenance and fuel, she said.

Kincheloe and Blevins both said the price paid for recycled materials like cardboard have increased significantly since one year ago. The future looks bright for both recycling centers, they said.