From Kokomo Tribune 9/29/2015
By George Myers
Following years of complications and setbacks, city officials have moved away from Kokomo Recycling and partnered with a new, locally-based company for the implementation of curbside recycling, a decision that brings new jobs to Kokomo.
With the announcement last week that Kokomo will roll out curbside recycling in December – with full implementation by Jan. 1 – Kokomo Director of Operations Randy McKay revealed Monday that the city will partner with Recovery Recycling, Inc. in a probable 10-year contract.
“We’ve looked at a variety of sources to make sure whoever we went with would be able to handle what we think is needed,” said McKay. “The confidence in Kokomo Recycling had been diminished greatly over the last several months. We have now found a company we think works very well with what we need to do to make the program successful.”
Now based in Peru, Recovery Recycling has committed to relocating its operations into a facility at 2282 N. Touby Pike, which also will serve as a 24-hour recycling drop off location.
Following the move, the company will increase its staff from eight to 25 employees, effectively bringing 17 jobs to the city.
Recovery Recycling will have roughly 60 days to transfer its full operations, including equipment, to the new facility before the program’s initial roll out date of Dec. 1, a timeline McKay said won’t be a problem.
On Dec. 1, the city will begin curbside recycling to roughly one-quarter of Kokomo, extending the program to a new area during each week of December.
“I am comfortable now that they are ready to come to Kokomo and place their equipment in the facility,” he said. “They’ve made a big commitment to Kokomo and it's one we are comfortable will help us get this program going and be successful.”
In addition to the job increase, Kokomo will pay $62 per ton for processing and handling to Recovery Recycling, a steep drop from the $85 per ton proposed by Kokomo Recycling.
“Recycling is important to our environment and our community,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight in a statement. “We have worked with Kokomo Recycling to try and get their program going, but unfortunately it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen.
“Recovery Recycling has the experience we need to implement curbside in Kokomo. With this agreement, we move forward and we are looking forward to the implementation of our program. Additionally, the private investment and jobs coming to Kokomo, as well as those being created, is a double win for our citizens.”
Switching service providers
Among the issues contributing to Kokomo Recycling’s lack of progression the last couple years was equipment installation for its material recycling facility, a situation Kokomo Recycling Owner JD Mohr called “the last piece of the puzzle” as recently as February.
But without a recent development showing significant progress, the city decided to move in another direction.
“We worked very closely with Kokomo Recycling over the last couple years and wanted them to be successful, but it had become apparent that it wasn’t going to happen,” said McKay. “Every time we got close to it, something went wrong.
“You can’t afford to get it started and not be comfortable with the group running this program.”
With Recovery Recycling’s current collection of equipment and experience in the recycling field, officials see the problems of Kokomo Recycling as a thing of the past, and fully expect their new partner to deliver on the start dates they’ve promised.
“[Recovery Recycling] has the equipment, manpower and knowledge that we think it takes to make the program successful,” said McKay. “They’re aware of the timelines and have committed to our timelines, so they will be ready to start receiving Dec. 1.”
McKay - who announced the city’s nearly $35,000 purchase last Tuesday of 7,000 totes – added the city will begin delivering its full collection of roughly 23,000 totes to residents by mid-October. This timeline, he said, will allow the city an abundance of time to correct any delivery problems.
The city’s newest commitment to curbside recycling came last Tuesday during the Howard County Recycling District board meeting, when members voted to reinstate the district’s $200,000 commitment to the program, a sum city personnel say is vital to the program’s current timeline.
Recovery Recycling Owner Mike Rorbik and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jeff Barnes did not return calls for this story. Kokomo Recycling Owner JD Mohr also did not respond to requests for comment.