June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

Medina County’s contract talks stall with processing facility

Medina County and the company that operates the Central Processing Facility remain at odds over a contract extension.

Envision Waste Services approached the county in the spring for an extension because it wants to invest $1 million to upgrade sorting equipment at the facility, where recyclables are removed from trash.

Steve Hambley

The existing five-year deal between the county and Envision expires in January 2015. A five-year contract extension is on the table and being reviewed by the county prosecutor’s office.

Envision would like a contract extension sooner rather than later so it can purchase and install Near Infra-Red sorting equipment that aims to collect more recyclables from trash.

County Commissioner Steve Hambley said he wants to wait a year before voting on an extension so the matter can be studied further and to see whether state law changes operational procedures.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of reviewing a solid waste House bill that could change how counties recycle.

Hambley, who said he opposes an extension with Envision, is calling for an independent group to study the effectiveness of the rate in which recyclable materials are removed from trash at the processing facility.

“This is an extremely flawed contract we have,” Hambley said. “Plastics and recyclables are going considerably into the waste stream and landfill.”

The efficiency of the overall operation of the facility is in question, said Hambley, who Monday hauled in three garbage bags full of trash and recyclables he collected from the processing facility to the commissioners meeting. The bags contained a mix of trash, plastic bottles and tin cans.

“Are we getting the recycling we actually pay for?” Hambley asked. “I think the facility can operate much more efficiently. Evidence seems to show we’re doing less than conventional recycling.”

Steve Viny, chief executive officer for Envision, said he opposes Hambley’s call for an independent group to look at the amount of recyclable materials removed from trash at the processing facility.

“We have a good beat about what’s on the conveyer belt,” Viny said.

He said the process of removing recyclables from trash is not perfect, but the facility is at or near the best of its kind nationwide.

The company is “meeting and exceeding the current contract” of landfill diversion, he said.

“Envision had a 2011 recycling rate of 18.2 percent, and in the first six months of 2012 a rate of 16.7 percent,” Viny said.

The level of compliance regarding recyclable collection in the existing contract is 13.5 percent, which is the rate mandated by the Ohio EPA.

In May, the Medina County Solid Waste Policy Committee approved the extension with a 4-3 vote, but it has no decision-making authority, Hambley said. The decision is up to commissioners.

County Commissioners Adam Friedrick and Pat Geissman publicly have stated support for the extension.

Viny said Thursday he favors a deal.

“We’re ready to proceed,” he said.

An agreement does not appear imminent, and County Administrator Chris Jakab said Thursday he is not aware of any formal discussions between the county and Envision.

“The dialogue between parties continues informally,” he said.

No deadline has been set by either party to reach a deal, Jakab said.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.