Portions of Washoe County will join Reno and Sparks in getting single-stream recycling if a new franchise agreement is approved tomorrow by the Washoe Board of County Commissioners.
The new agreement will raise fees for most unincorporated county customers, who are not currently under Sparks and Reno service areas, but customers will also see an increase in services such as new free dump days and sticker tags for bags of excess waste.
Gone will be the green and yellow recycling bins used by many county customers. Those will be replaced with rolling bins. Single-stream recycling in Reno and Sparks is subsidized by fees paid by commercial customers, a subsidy the county’s agreement with Waste Management does not have.
“A single stream recycling program streamlines and simplifies the process of collecting and sorting recyclable materials, increasing recycling rates by up to 50 percent,” according to a county staff report. “In a single-stream recycling system, residents and commercial customers place recyclables in a recycling cart and waste in waste cart for pickup and no longer need to separate these Single-Steam Recycling/Garbage Franchise Agreement materials in their homes or workplaces.”
Other changes include new bear-proof bins, particularly for the Galena and Caughlin Ranch areas. There will also be an ombudsman available for county residents to help with customer disputes.
“The ombudsman position is new to the Washoe County Contract, but not unusual in our franchise agreements,” said Waste Management’s Kendra Kostelecky. “The person who will be handling that for Washoe County is the same person who is currently the ombudsman for Reno. She is located at our customer service center in Phoenix. This is a benefit for the County because she is familiar with the ins and outs of Waste Management, but is not directly employed by Reno Disposal (the Washoe County branch of WM).”
Unincorporated Washoe County residents have both supported and opposed the changes.
The rate increases will cover access to the transfer station four times per year, excess waste collection in November and May, stickers for excess waste collection and the new single-stream recycling bins.
“The increase also covers services provided to the county,” Kostelecky said. “The county doesn’t pay a trash bill for disposal of their (the public’s) waste. That cost is spread out among all subscribers.”
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Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.