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The Harvey County Commission voted Nov. 26 to amend its recycling resolution. The resolution will no longer prohibit recyclable material in the municipal solid waste stream at the Harvey County Transfer Station, effective Jan. 1.

The decision does not end recycling programs in Harvey County. Rather, it no longer makes recycling mandatory. It also provides the opportunity for cities to decide how to implement recycling services in their communities. 

The amendment comes after several months of discussion in commission and intergovernmental meetings between the County, municipalities and Waste Connections. The County pays Waste Connections to receive and haul recyclables from the Harvey County Transfer Station.

Citing a decreasing economic market for recyclable material and excessive non-recyclable material in the recycling stream, Waste Connections requested to review its contract with the County, which runs through April 2022.

Waste Connections recently performed an audit of material brought in through the recycle stream at the Transfer Station. The audit found 36 percent of items by weight in the recycle stream were contaminated - or, not able to be recycled. Waste Connections requires less than 10 percent contamination.

While Waste Connections agreed to honor its current contract rate, it will now have the ability to reject future loads of recyclables from specific recycling trucks for 30 days if the hauler delivers a load with more than 10 percent contamination. Haulers will have the option of taking largely contaminated recyclable loads to municipal solid waste.

Commissioners expressed appreciation to county residents that continue to be good stewards of the local recycling program, and encouraged residents to continue to recycle.

Harvey County implemented its original resolution on recycling in 2000.