Haverhill Council Ratifies Trash Hauler Pact; Agrees to up to $200K Extra for Rising Recycling Costs

Rollout of the city’s trash cart program was one reason for delayed implementation of contract with Capitol Waste. (Courtesy photograph.)

Reacting to China’s ban on 24 types of recyclables, Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night ratified a four-year-old agreement between the city and its waste hauler, Capitol Waste.

Last January, China banned certain wastes—particularly contaminated paper that cannot be recycled, driving up recycling costs around the world. China previously accepted half of the world’s discarded paper, metals and plastic. Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich said the city originally agreed in 2014 to continue using Capitol Waste, but faced uncertainty because of China’s actions.

“It does not include any of the additional costs that we may incur in the future for these larger increases in recyclables,” he said.

Councilors agreed to the seven-year plan when City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. confirmed the trash company—the lowest bidder—would accept a $200,000 cap on the additional cost to dispose of recyclables in the difficult market.

Stankovich said the city also incurred added costs with Capitol waste because it did not firmly settle on any of eight different collection scenarios. One reason, he explained, was the 16-month delay in rolling out the 64-gallon trash cart program. He said the extra time was needed to educate the public about the change. Capitol Waste based its bid on the assumption the city would adopt the program sooner and allow the automated collection of trash.

Councilor Colin F. LePage noted, however, recycling has generally been a cost saver for the city. He explained he advocated for recycling—at first, paper only, and then single stream—which saw total savings over eight years of more than $2 million.