Concord Township, a community of 19,500 residents in Northeast Ohio, was faced with a dilemma of increasing costs to collect and process recyclables. These costs had increased from a $50,000 budget item to over $160,000 in a period of five years. The County had been supporting this effort for the past 15 years; however, in 2005 they began to decouple themselves from the process. For the next five years they offered a subsidy to communities who wished to manage their own programs and to eliminate the County’s management of the recycling. Concord was the first of 17 communities to take on this effort. For five years the Township struggled with managing various types of recycling programs from curbside to having residents bring their recyclables to a designated drop-off site - first two sites and in 2010 a single site. By mid 2009 the costs had escalated to a projected $210,000 for 2009. Immediate cost containment was initiated and by the end of 2009 those costs were decreased to $160,000. The County continued its full subsidy through 2009, which amounted to approximately $74,000; but even with the subsidy, the costs were severe for Township’s budget. The budget situation became even more pressing as Ohio’s triennium property appraisals in 2009 came back with a devaluation of nearly $200,000 which would further strain the Township – admittedly not great for some communities.
With these expectations, the Townships Board of Trustees solicited a citizens’ committee to study the recycling issue over the summer of 2009. Acting as a facilitator to the Committee was the Township’s Administrator. After nearly five months of meeting and studying various options, the Committee reported to the Board with two major recommendations: 1) Reduce drop-off recycling sites from two to one; and, 2) determine a means to re-institute a curbside recycling program. It was the curbside program that posed the greatest challenge.