In a unanimous vote on Tuesday morning, the Board of County Commissioners voted to expand curbside recycling services to the easternmost end of Lewis County.
As of October 2007, curbside recycling by the county’s Solid Waste Utility Department has included all of unincorporated Lewis County from Pe Ell to Morton. With the passing of Tuesday’s ordinance, LeMay, the company that collects curbside trash and recycling for Lewis County, will expand services in Randle, Glenoma and Packwood.
Garbage-only collection is already established throughout the county. Now, comingled recycling will be an option, which allows multiple materials in one container, rather than just cardboard.
As with all curbside garbage and recycling, participation in the collection program is completely voluntary. Customers can sign up for a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule with either 65- or 95-gallon bins. LeMay is purchasing a new truck for this purpose, according to Solid Waste Manager Rocky Lyon, and the company anticipates beginning new services in the east end in late March or early April.
For weekly pick up of trash and bi-weekly recycling, Lyon said costs over a two-month period are about $64 after tax, or $30 to $32 per month, while two months of bi-weekly pickup for both trash and recycling usually costs between $40 and $45.
While weekly trash customers initially pay more to add comingled recycling services, Lyon said the cost can be made up nearly in its entirety by switching to bi-weekly pickup for both. Typically, he said, this becomes easier when residents have recycling available to them as it reduces the amount of stuff they need to throw in the trash every week.
Lyon said there was no cost to the county to expand the service. In fact, the more people who participate in curbside recycling, the cheaper it can become countywide.
“Obviously, we want to encourage more people. The more people, the cheaper it will be for everybody,” Lyon said. “More recycling drives more revenue … so the cost will actually go down. We get a better commodity credit.”
Some residents are hesitant about using LeMay because of costs, Lyon said, but the company’s rates are capped by state laws. LeMay also pays the same rates as any customer to use the Lewis County transfer stations.
Because of the high cost of gas and the convenience of curbside programs, Lyon said he’d encourage any resident in unincorporated Lewis County to consider joining the program. He invited anyone with questions to call Solid Waste Utility and speak with him or the recycling specialist.
“We want to encourage people, curbside pick up, especially in this day and age … really does benefit the public,” Lyon said.
Customers will have to call LeMay to sign up for the new program. The company’s Centralia office can be reached at 360-736-4769.
To learn more about LeMay and its services, head to http://lewis.lemayinc.com/Default.aspx. For Solid Waste Utility, visit https://lewiscountywa.gov/departments/solid-waste/ or call 360-740-1451.