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Elizabethtown Borough Plans for More Trash Caused by Recycling Reductions

The Elizabethtown Borough Council reached a consensus on allowing residents to have as many as three 32-gallon containers of trash collected per week, instead of the current one 32-gallon container, without buying tags for additional garbage.

Elizabethtown Borough is the only municipality in Lancaster County to limit its residents to 32 gallons of trash per week without paying extra, Assistant Borough Manager Ann Roda said at the council work session on Thursday, Aug. 2. The goal of the existing policy was to encourage people to put as much as possible into recycling bins; there is no limit on how much people may put out for recycling. But market forces have made the old system impractical.

“There’s been a collapse in the recycling market,” Roda said. Most of the material collected in recycling bins was shipped to China, but Chinese recyclers are getting much stricter about what they will accept.

In reaction to that, the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority is cutting back on what it will accept for recycling to only the items that get the highest prices for scrap, people will no longer be able to recycle items such as newspapers, egg cartons and cereal boxes, leading to more items going into trash collection to be incinerated.

Roda presented two other options. Roda said one option would be to continue with the current system, but councilors promptly dismissed that as impractical, reaching a consensus that few people would comply with the new recycling restrictions if it means having to buy tags for additional trash containers. Roda said another way to collect trash would be to have the hauler provide a 96-gallon wheeled cart that could be lifted by machine to dump the contents in the garbage truck. But councilors did not like that idea because of concerns that the large carts would take up too much room on densely populated streets. They noted that smaller households, such as those with one person living alone, would likely generate much less than 96 gallons of trash even with fewer items being accepted for recycling.

The borough’s contract with waste hauler Lebanon Farms Disposal ends on Dec. 31. Roda’s presentation to council members said they would vote to advertise a new trash and recycling ordinance at their Aug. 16 meeting. A request for bids would be released Aug. 23 and bids would be opened Sept. 28. The contract would be awarded at the Borough Council’s Oct. 4 work session meeting.

In other business, Roda briefed council members about several options for outdoor musical instruments to be installed for public use in Community Park. Council members said they preferred the first option she presented because it did not include drums, which they said they feared would create a nuisance for nearby residents.

Councilor Phil Clark recalled the reaction when his children used to practice drums at his home in years past.

“There were times when we weren’t the most popular neighbors,” Clark said.

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