Take your pick: 96 gallons, 64 gallons or 35 gallons.
Those are the three sizes of recycling containers proposed by Glenn Schweizer and Kathleen Hourihan who spoke on behalf of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority at the Mendham Township Committee meeting Monday night.
“We’re at the point now where we are putting all of the recycling in one container. We have a policy with our employees that they can’t lift containers over 50 pounds,” Hourihan said. “These new carts can be lifted automatically.”
The plan, according to the MUA officials would be to distribute new carts to residents over the course of the next year. These new cans would be lifted by hydraulic lifts, bypassing the weight restriction.
“The 96 gallon one would be the default. But there will be three options,” Hourihan said. “Sixty-four gallon or a 35 gallon cart. Tippers would lift the cart and tip it in. We will provide one cart per resident. “
Committee Member Frank Cioppettini took issue with the plan.
“We’re your biggest community and you are going to the system you haven’t done your homework on. You are going to something you haven’t field tested and you are setting yourself up for failure,” Cioppettini said. “You’re taking on a town where you know there will be a lot of volume.”According to the MUA officials, Mendham Township produces approximately 900 pounds of recycling on average per household per year, whereas the average number is somewhere around 500 pounds per household.
“The reason for that I think is because Mendham Township doesn’t have a recycling center so they have to put it out at curbside,” Hourihan said. “Most of our other towns they have a choice and they choose to use recycling centers 50 percent of the time.”
According to Hourihan, the new cans are not mandatory, but will be optional for residents and Schweizer said that some of the more rural areas might never see them.
“I think if we pick the neighborhoods properly we will learn a lot,” Schweizer said. “And we can pick a uniform color. It also would give you a more standardized look in the town. It gives you a sense of pride.”
Committee Member Rick Merkt said the geography of the township would make the large size of the containers an issue.
“We have different geography. Some people have short driveways. But with people with long driveways or 10 percent grades on the driveway might have issues,” Merkt said.
Mayor Sam Tolley said the committee needed more information before making a final decision.
“I sense hesitancy and I sense concern. Depending on the angle of the driveway even the most robust person could be overcome,” Tolley said. “I would fill them up and go to some very steep driveways and see how they handle.”
The MUA reps planned to return at a later date with more information on implementation, but they assured the committee that the new carts were optional and residents could still use their current carts or a combination of several.
“It is important that the carts are entirely optional because the big cart won’t fit in my garage with my car,” Committee Member Rob Strobel said.
“Your car is too big,” Cioppettini said.