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Waterloo firefighters battled fire Wednesday in a cardboard bay at Cedar Valley Recycling and Transfer, 1920 Water St.

WATERLOO — A company stopped taking Waterloo’s recyclables as the city looks at major changes in its curbside collection program.

Waterloo Sanitation Department officials secured a short-term agreement with Republic Services after Cedar Valley Recycling verbally notified the city late Monday afternoon it would no longer accept the material.

“There’s not going to be a disruption in service,” said Public Works Manager Randy Bennett. “People aren’t going to notice a difference.”

Cedar Valley Recycling on Vinton Street has been processing and marketing the recyclables city trucks collect at curbside. The company did not submit a bid to continue providing service last year but continued to take material until this week.

Bennett said he’s still working to formalize a temporary agreement with Republic Services to accept recyclables at is facility on Dunkerton Road in Cedar Falls. The company hauls material from that site, formerly City Carton, to its Cedar Rapids plant for processing.

Bennett said early discussions indicate the city will pay $150 to $181 per ton to Republic, which exceeds the $90-per-ton payments on contaminated loads at Cedar Valley Recycling. That contract will go to City Council members in the near future.

Cedar Valley Recycling spokesman Blane Benham was not available for comment. But a letter the company sent to customers last month indicated it was planning to raise recycling fees to deal with market conditions.

“Due to market values of cardboard and mixed paper, the cost to process the material for sale has surpassed the value of the material being processed,” the letter stated. “Many recyclers are feeling this pinch, and while we try to absorb costs over the years, the continuing decline of the market has forced our hand to increase the rates for recycling services dramatically.”

The shakeup in the recycling program comes as public works administrators are evaluating proposals opened June 27 for the city’s curbside collection program.

Republic Services and Waste Management of Iowa Inc., which has a processing plant in Independence, both submitted proposals.

Bennett said its difficult to compare those plans because there are multiple options for the program depending on which direction City Council members choose.

Both companies would require curbside recycling to use a separate container from its curbside yard waste program. The city’s current practice of using the same container but alternating collection weeks has led to frequent contamination in both waste streams.

Options include whether city employees or the private contractors would handle the curbside collection and whether curbside recycling would remain on a voluntary basis or become mandatory for all residences.

Decisions also involve whether to continue the current drop-off recycling program operated under a separate contract with Rite Environmental.

Bennett is tentatively slated to present information on the recycling program to the City Council on Aug. 5.

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