City May Cut McIntire Recycling Center Funding

The city is looking at eliminating funding for the McIntire Recycling Center, Rachana Dixit writes in today’s Daily Progress. Many of the materials that people can drop off there are collected curbside by the city, making the facility largely redundant. It’s jointly funded by the county, via the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, since folks in the county need to drive their recyclables to McIntire. The catch is that it’s not clear that the facility could continue to exist without city funding, which would eliminate recycling for many Albemarle residents.

29 Responses to “City May Cut McIntire Recycling Center Funding”


  • Wonder what’s really going on. It’s not the money. This is the city that a few years ago asked the public for suggestions how to spend half-a-million in excess taxes that wasn’t in the budget.

    “We have plenty in reserve,” they said. And they still do, hidden in this account and that.

    Politics is at the root of this, not eliminating the recycling center. They don’t want our exotic batteries tossed into curb side trash or into the storm drains, which is sure to happen if McIntire recycling charges or closes.

    I hope this is a play to get private industry to take over local recycling.

    By the way, the “living wage” issue for UVa people already earning enough to get by on, and with good perks, looks a lot different to someone employed at the recycling center. They get nothing like that.

    What do figure their annual earnings are, or their perks? Would the city dare make it public, especially now with a shorter work week?

  • great – maybe the $’s’ll go to van der linde….

  • We can count our blessings. Van der Linde is doing the research, planning, and execution that government amateurs can only dream of.

    Privatizing per se is usually bad for the end user but that doesn’t make ALL privatizing undesirable and more costly.

    Van der Linde is proving to be the exception.

    Government already has a full plate without adding the complicated world of recycling responsibilities. That’s an area for specialists.

  • Bummer. I live in the county and have no recycling service without mcintyre.

  • It will be a loss for city people too. I still take my stuff to McIntire Rd sometimes. When it’s raining on trash day and you can’t put out your paper, I like to drop it off so I’m not stuck with a double load the next week, and during the big storm when our recycling wasn’t picked up, I was able to unload my overflowing bottle/can/plastic bin.

  • What a bunch of whinners. Everbody cries reduce government spending and waste and when a simple thing like eliminating the recycling center is mentioned for elimination, you react like it might be the end of the world. I say eliminate the recycling center and eliminate curb side recycling. Recycling a total waste of taxpayer money.
    Let private enterprise handle the recycling or forget about recycling all together.
    While I’m talking about eliminating government programs, waste and excessive spending, let’s not forget the CTS. They will not be operating this sunday, easter. I say if you can live without the service this sunday then eliminate Sunday bus service all together. What a waste of taxpayer money.

  • I’ll agree with Jogger on the CTS issue. It’s hard to tell clients that we have public transportation when they close on days that people need to use said public transportation.

  • I’ll show my ignorance and hopefully shed some of it in the process …

    Does the city fund curbside trash and/or recycling pickup? I thought I paid for it with the stickers I buy for bags of trash (thus encouraging me to recycle so as to reduce the # of bags of trash I put out for pickup.) Do the bag stickers only cover a portion of the cost and the city subsidizes the remainder?

    Note, I’m not referring to the McIntire Recycling center, which I understand is funded by the local governments. I’m referring to curbside pickup.

  • Let’s all pause to recall the time that Jogger declared that mass transit is a total failure in Manhattan, and that everybody there drives.

    The notion that a business or service is unnecessary if it’s sometimes not available is foolishness. If a grocery store isn’t open at 3 AM, does that mean it’s useless? If a restaurant is closed on Christmas, does that mean that they should close up shop? It might be inconvenient for CTS not to run on Easter, but that reveals absolutely nothing about its value. The very fact that it’s problematic indicates precisely the opposite.

  • dave,
    I live in the county and use Time Disposal- they use the Van der Linde facility which recycles straight from our trash without sorting out trash types.

  • Okay, I don’t know this “jogger.”

    But I do know Jim Duncan’s stellar reputation in the local real estate market.

    That said. I’ve got to agree with Jim Duncan. Who agreed with Jogger regarding CTS.

    If public transportation has to close on days when people need that public transit…

    I say if you can live without the service this sunday then eliminate Sunday bus service all together.

    There are some jobs and services that are in operation when everyone else has a holiday. That is one of the specific focuses of those jobs.

    People work at Movie Theaters and Restaurants while everyone else has the day off because of such and such a holiday.

    Public transportation is no different then either of those other two types of businesses.

    I’m all for “Restricted service.” During special “holiday times” but not for “No Service at all”.

    Do you think NYC shuts down their public transit on Easter Sunday?

    Does Boston Shut down their public transit on Easter Sunday?

    In both cases- No.

    With some jobs- people are expected to work the holidays. Usually it’s the low men on the totem pole.

    Public transit is and always should be- one of those jobs.

    Otherwise you’re engaging in selective discrimination. You’re discriminating against people without personal transportation.

    Which is something that Charlottesville did for a long time when I was growing up. When I was a kid it used to be that bus service shut down after 6pm.

    What does that accomplish, but to ensure that the undesirable elements are stuck in their own neighborhoods.

    Public transit is one of those jobs where the employees are just going to have to “suck it up” and work on the holiday- albeit at a ‘reduced’ work schedule.

    People in Charlottesville love to try and draw comparisons between Charlottesville and other cities. One city mentioned in the past (specifically when trying to get streetcar/rail along west main street- was Portland Oregon.

    Public transit in Portland Oregon does not shut down for Easter Sunday.

    If you can do without the service for one Sunday- you can do without it every Sunday.

  • Not sure how we are comparing Charlottesville with a population of wayyyyy under 100K to a city of over 500K.

    I suspect they have more police officers than we do, as well as greater public transportation abilities.

    But yes, if the bus system is bleeding even more money than usual on Sundays then perhaps a limited service is appropriate. If someone has to walk a mile to their job to from the nearest stop, or wait longer between routes, but get a heavily subsidized ride perhaps a minimum of complaint is warrented.

    Or even better, have Albemarle get their own recycling center. City picks it up for city residents so I really do not see the need for repetition of services. As to the person that drives to recyle newspapers rather than allow them to build a extra week, how green is your world? And people that are buying houses are really not going to be too upset over no bus on Sunday. Really now…

  • build it and they will whine

    Actually I believe that the McIntire lot is Albemarle’s property- I’m not 100% but it is in the same swath as the County Office building and parking lot which do belong to the County.

  • Lets see. The city wants to cut out funding for something we know people use- the recycling center.
    And give funding for something they hope people will use- the YMCA. An organization that has failed to make a go of it when it has been here in the past. Go figure.

  • Danpi wrote:

    Not sure how we are comparing Charlottesville with a population of wayyyyy under 100K to a city of over 500K.

    Hey, I’m just using the same logic some of our city councilors (and the advocates of rail along west main- a dumb idea in my opinion) use when they find a trophy project some other city has that they want.

    The knife cuts both ways.

  • @TrvlnMn: Sorry, I would never try and paint someone in the corner with City Council. No way are we ready for rail.

    @Hollowboy: Yeah, the Albemarle people use it, but the Cville people already get it. Thats my point. If Albemarle wants it, then put the staff and sort it out yourself. As for as YMCa, they have never had this type of presence here before. For those that do not want a health club that costs a family of four thousands of $$, the Y will be a good alternative. They will certainly have more per person/square yard use than the couple little picknic huts they replace, by an expontial level mind you. Just check the cost of the Waynesboro YMCA vs. the Cville ACAC. The $$ difference is crazy.

  • I simply don’t buy that the provision of a service on some days by a municipality obliges the municipality to provide it on all days. Yes, it’d be swell to have 24/7, 365-day bus service. But I’ll warrant that demand is so very, very low on Easter as to make that day a huge money loser.

    And what is totally wrong is the idea that a service isn’t available at all times, then it should be eliminated. Not only is there no evidence for that, there’s no logical basis for it.

  • I simply don’t buy that the provision of a service on some days by a municipality obliges the municipality to provide it on all days. Yes, it’d be swell to have 24/7, 365-day bus service. But I’ll warrant that demand is so very, very low on Easter as to make that day a huge money loser.

    If we want to create a market and a dependency on a service, the service has to be offered consistently and efficiently. Demand is likely low on Easter, but I’d wager (.03 if you’re interested :) ) that in order for people to depend on a service or utility, they have to come to expect it to work, and in this case, run – (nearly) all the time.

    What days of the year does CTS not run?

  • I like how someone can presume to judge the “greenness” of my world based on the fact that maybe five times a year I drive a whole mile and a half to unload a hefty collection of newspapers, junk mail, cereal boxes, and the papers my kids bring home from school.
    We’re going to point fingers at each other now about our lack of “greenness?” It’s OK to, say, drive out of your way once a month to load up on locally-raised beef, but not to drive to the recycling center? Give me a break.

  • Big difference between your

    “When it’s raining on trash day and you can’t put out your paper, I like to drop it off so I’m not stuck with a double load the next week.”

    and

    “maybe five times a year I drive a whole mile and a half to unload a hefty collection of newspapers, junk mail, cereal boxes, and the papers my kids bring home from school”

    Still not buying it. Big whoop if you have an extra few inches of newspaper in your recycle box. Break down your boxes and milk cartons and it will hold two weeks.

    If the beef guy delivers, then no reason to drive.

  • So the latest #’s I found are from 2007 and show the city paying $327K to subsidize curbside recycling.

    Should they be doing that?

    Can we establish a dollar value on extending the life of the landfill by reducing what goes into it (and thereby argue that some portion of the $327K is offset by long-term savings?)

    What if the city charged more for trash stickers? How many 13 gallon bags are tossed each year? If the cost was $1 more per sticker, would that cover the difference? What about 50 cents more?

    Would there be more trash on the streets of the city because people would no longer pay to have it picked up at all?

    I’ve always liked the idea of people paying less for trash pickup because they recycle. But I may be in the minority.

    BTW – for those using trash services that charge monthly and now use Van der Linde for recycling … I’ve read that the tipping fee at VdL is less than at the landfill. So the trash haulers are paying less per ton now that they are taking trash to be recycled. Has any of that savings been passed on to customers via lower monthly bills?

  • “In order for people to depend on a service or utility, they have to come to expect it to work, and in this case, run – (nearly) all the time.”

    That statement amazes me. If I were Mr. Jaquith, I would take that wager and seek to add to it. Perhaps it was penned on a night when too much had to get done in too little time or made in sarcasm, so I’ll give Mr. Duncan the benefit of the doubt. But if not, maybe there is more behind the what occurred in Crozet than the county’s bureaucratic malfeasance.

    1. Most services, government or privately-owned businesses, choose to operate at times of peak demand. You can find few services that run nearly all the time.

    2. Who are these idealistic and psychologically-fragile residents who, though they want to shop on 6 p.m. on a weeknight, would say: “I am not going shopping tonight, because CTS was closed on Easter” ?

    Who are the citizens who believe that the CTS, if it chooses to close on Easter, is “not working”?

    If the Metro stations in DC fail to close for a few dead city hours (from midnight to 5 a.m.), will DC’s residents suddenly believe the Metro service is not functioning correctly? No. DC’s residents will still pack the terminals the next morning.

    3. What is saved remains in CTS, and it is returned to riders (lowering fees or adding quality to the service) on a day when people are riding buses. This is not a zero-sum game.

    4. When municipal or local decisions are made based on arbitrary rules, advocacy cliques, traditions, assumptons about citizen psychologies, illogical mantras rather than on the cost vs. benefit (environmental or financial), then the likelihood that a poor decisions will be made greatly increases.

    5. Finally, though I love you guys (only on nights when I have too much to get done), we are making this too easy for Mr. Jaquith, and that is something that I would never support.

    Charlottesville is like Portland? Services must operate nearly all the time or not at all? Services that don’t operate nearly all the time are not working? For Mr. Jaquith, those are are like slow pitch beach balls. I’d rather see him have to make an effort.

    I support the CTS decision; it makes sense to me. However, if I were to play devil’s advocate, I would argue that the CTS should stay open on Easter because the public wants to assist the people who want to ride CTS on Easter; those citizens who ride on cost-effective days help the less-fortunate riders on Easter. I can’t imagine Mr. Jaquith having a problem with that.

  • Flyingroadstar,
    Can we establish a dollar value on extending the life of the landfill by reducing what goes into it (and thereby argue that some portion of the $327K is offset by long-term savings?)
    Our landfill died years ago, so no. I imagine when the ones we currently truck our trash to are full we’ll just drive it a little further to another, so while extending the life of a specific landfill might be in the best interests of its operator, I don’t see anyone locally promoting that as a reason to recycle.

    What if the city charged more for trash stickers? How many 13 gallon bags are tossed each year? If the cost was $1 more per sticker, would that cover the difference? What about 50 cents more?

    I’ve read that the tipping fee at VdL is less than at the landfill. So the trash haulers are paying less per ton now that they are taking trash to be recycled. Has any of that savings been passed on to customers via lower monthly bills?

    You seem to be arguing that customers should be willing to pay more to recycle through an inefficient, government run service which they did not choose while expecting a state-of-the-art private and efficient service which people go out of their way to patronize to have to offer a competitive cost advantage for them to do so? I for one would be willing to pay more to have my trash handled by Van der Linde, but not a penny more for the City and their cronies at BFI or whatever they’re called now to touch it. Van der Linde has built a better mousetrap, and if not for the fact that he operates in a field which localities have decided should be their exclusive market, the world would be beating a path to his door.

  • So the latest #’s I found are from 2007 and show the city paying $327K to subsidize curbside recycling.

    What if the city charged more for trash stickers? How many 13 gallon bags are tossed each year? If the cost was $1 more per sticker, would that cover the difference? What about 50 cents more?

    Hey. I thought Recycling was supposed to pay for itself. If I had to pay extra for recycling then I’m just going to let it all go to the landfill.

    Regarding the question about monthly fees and the Vanderlinde Discount… No rate reductions on my end, but my fees haven’t gone up for quite a while.

    Oh, and I figure it’s worth mentioning-

    In several instances in several different neighborhoods around the county I’ve seen the same truck that loads up the garbage also load the carefully separated Recycling into the same truck So that it all ends up mixed back in with the regular trash. When I asked about it, (and a friend who noted the same thing I did at a separate time and asked) we were both told that they use Vanderlinde who has some sorta machine that he runs all of his waste through to separate out the recyclables. (I can’t vouch for the truth of that statement though- and I’m a little skeptical).

  • ****,

    I don’t think that’s quite what I’m arguing, but I see the point you are trying to make.

    Time Disposal charges my neighbors $26/month to collect their trash and recycling in one bin, they take it Van der Linde to process. I pay, on average, $5.25/month for the same service through the city (I put out one bag per week, every now and then 2, recently that’s worked out to 5 bags every 4 weeks.) But let’s say I put out 2 bags per week on average … that’s works out to $9.10/month over 6 months.

    That’s a bargain to me. I’m paying barely over 1/3rd what my neighbors are paying.

    Of course, apparently I’m being subsidized. So my suggestion was to double what I pay. Now I’m paying just over 2/3rd what my neighbors are … I’m still saving money. But is the service now self-sufficient? I don’t have the #’s available to know.

    Time Disposal, Dixon Trash, etc. … those guys make money because, on average, people don’t put out much trash. Sure, now and then people put out a lot, but week to week, not so much. For every guy that really uses $26/month worth of their service, others use less. But everyone pays $26, whether they use it that much or not.

    My point is that if the city raises prices to make this service self-funding, it might still be cheaper to use it. Is that bad?

    @TrvlMn –

    What if we paid for recycling, but it was less than what we pay for trash? Made up #’s … what if we started paying 50 cents/bag of recycling. Sure, it used to be free (not really since it was subsidized.) But there is still incentive not to send it all to the landfill. Would that be more acceptable?

    BTW – separating your recyclables is still better than VdL’s single-stream system, in terms of % of recyclables actually recycled. When pulled from the trash, some portion end up soiled or just missed. It’s still better than sending it all to the landfill. It’s just too bad people don’t separate on their own. But again … if it saved $$$ to separate, more would do it.

    (Note – I’m not a recycling guru or proactive environmentalist. I just want to spend as little on trash pickup as I reasonably can. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go pour a quart of used motor oil out in my backyard and then turn off my car that has been idling outside since 4pm …)

  • BTW – separating your recyclables is still better than VdL’s single-stream system, in terms of % of recyclables actually recycled. When pulled from the trash, some portion end up soiled or just missed. It’s still better than sending it all to the landfill. It’s just too bad people don’t separate on their own. But again … if it saved $$$ to separate, more would do it.

    That may be the case… but…

    Unfortunately the trash collection services at both Forest Lakes and Glenmore both wind up dumping the separated recyclables in with the total trash. And they do that simply because Vanderlinde has a machine that separates stuff.

    So whatever you think of VdL’s single stream… the vote’s already gotten removed from many peoples hands.

    And I’ll have to think about the points you raised about recycling.

  • Could someone actually think she scored a point saying this?

    “When I was a kid it used to be that bus service shut down after 6pm. What does that accomplish, but to ensure that the undesirable elements are stuck in their own neighborhoods.”

  • So whatever you think of VdL’s single stream… the vote’s already gotten removed from many peoples hands.

    True. And, I suspect, better for the environment, because the fact is that most people don’t sort out their recyclables. So what VdL is doing likely greatly reduces what ends up in landfills (wherever those landfills may be.) And as time goes on, the single-stream system should get better and better.

    I just don’t want to pay $26/month when I don’t generate that much actual trash. I like the idea of being financially rewarded for recycling. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, though, because the concept of separating recyclables and either not paying or paying less for those to be picked up has been around for a long time, and it hasn’t exactly caught fire. :)

  • My condo complex, along with plenty others, doesn’t have a recycling program, so I go to the recycling center every Sunday afternoon. The city once delivered a large recycling bin to the complex, but they emptied it so rarely that we started seeing rats enjoying the piles of bottles and papers. The container was removed after just a few months.

    Maybe I need to look into whether the complex’s trash compactor contents wind up at Van der Linde’s facility. Even if that’s the case, I’ll still go to the recycling center until someone decides to close it. I know it’s silly, but I like sorting everything out and it reminds me of the same weekly trips I used to make with my mother when I was a little girl.

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