City committee weighing options for trash and recycling pickup

Blue trash bags and recycling ready for pick up in the City of Cortland. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Cortland’s Trash and Recycling Ad Hoc Advisory Committee recently met to discuss options for garbage and recycling service in the city.

The purpose of the committee, as stated in the past, is to consider and review “the most cost effective and environmentally sensible alternatives to the current trash and recycling agreements.”

Councilperson Bill Carpenter (D-6th Ward) noted at a recent Common Council meeting that the trash and recycling committee discussed blue bags and “decreasing the use of them in the city,” he added.

Carpenter noted the committee discussed the potential of going with other hauler companies. The city is currently under contract with Bert Adams Disposal, and has been for the past few years. Bert Adams’ system with the city includes large (or small) blue bag pickup instead of a tote system, and a glass-only pickup during the first week of each month.

“We’ve all heard the complaints about the blue bags, and I think getting away from those is one of the smartest things our committee is going to push for,” said councilperson Wayne Schutt (R-1st Ward), who is also a trash and recycling committee member.

The committee is also looking into potentially lowering the costs of blue bags. The current cost is $5 for 36-gallon bags, and $3.25 for 18-gallon bags. The larger bags are available at most convenience stores and gas stations in the city, while the smaller bags are available at the city clerk’s office.

Councilperson Seth Thompson (D-5th Ward) said the ultimate goal of the committee is to put together a plan to reduce costs.

“Right now what we’re seeing is potential savings for the residents and less hassle with the blue bags,” he added.

City Department Public of Works Superintendent Nic Dovi has noted recently and in the past that other municipalities have gone with a tote system for their trash and recycling collection.

Councilperson Pat Lane (D-4th Ward) noted the Ithaca area currently has a tag system for its trash pickup.

“I usually put two plastic bags in another plastic bag,” she said of the current blue bag system in the city. “I’ve always been uncomfortable with the fact of adding even more plastic.”

Schutt mentioned the city needs a plan that requires “less waste and less cost.”

“This could mean less volume to the (county landfill),” he added. “One of the things we covered in the meeting was adding bags into another bag just adds to the landfill. We’re just adding more waste to the dump.”

City mayor Scott Steve asked council members, and residents of Cortland, to bring forth any ideas or suggestions for garbage and recycling collection in 2023 and beyond.

The city as a whole will look to finalize a plan and have a new contract in place prior to the new year.