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Recycling changes start New Year’s Day

The new year will bring major changes for the residents of Bethlehem in terms of recycling.

At the Nov. 15 meeting, city council voted unanimously to approve a contract with Republic Services of NJ, LLC, dba Raritan Valley Disposal. The two-year contract is for $3,523,212. It will be split, with the first year, 2023, at a cost of $1,718,640, and the second year, 2024, at a cost of $1,804,572.

Director of Community and Economic Development Laura Collins and Director of Recycling Mike Halbfoerster explained to council the changes the residents will see in terms of recycling as of Jan. 1, 2023.

The most notable change will be a move to a single-stream curbside collection. Residents will now be required to place all recyclable materials, whether paper, glass, aluminum or other, into one container. Items, such as pizza boxes will remain on the non-recycle list (the grease causes problems for the process).

Collins said in order to cover costs of the increase in recycling cost, homeowners will see their recycling fees go up annually by $20, which can be split quarterly.

Answering a question for Chair Michael Colon, Collins said the single stream recycling was economically the most viable option. She also pointed out that, “it is generally understood that more people will recycle in the single-stream process.”

Following a concern raised by Councilwoman Paige Van Wirt about whether the items collected are indeed recycled, Halbfoerster reassured her that he periodically checks on Cougles Recycling to ensure they are doing their work on that angle of the recycling chain.

Halbfoerster also said the city is getting the word out about the recycling changes through public notices such as pamphlets.

The 2023 budget will take center stage in the next few weeks, with the first budget meeting scheduled for Nov. 22. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Press photos by Marieke Andronache Director of Community and Economic Development Laura Collins explains to city council the details of the contract agreement between the city and Republic Services of NJ LLC.
Director of Recycling Mike Halbfoerster listens to concerns from member of city council on whether the recycling items are actually recycled by Cougles Recycling.