BESSEMER - Members of the Bessemer City Council approved a five-year contract with Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc ., to handle all of the city's trash and recycling services at their meeting Monday.
Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc ., will provide each eligible Bessemer household with a 64-gallon cart for trash and a 96-gallon recycling cart for a combined cost of a little more than $16 per month.
Mayor Butch Semmerling stated his support of the contract.
"The cost here per month or so between doing it ourselves and contracting with these people is very, very close," he said. "But in another couple years we'd be looking at a new truck and new dumpsters and that really skews the whole financial part of it."
Semmerling said the city won't be laying off any employees as a result of the contract.
"There's two people, two times a week, full time on garbage," Semmerling said. "(This contract) would free those two individuals up to do other work in this community."
The trash cart would be collected every week, and the recycling cart would be picked up every other week by Eagle Waste employees.
"We look at this as a win-win proposal for the city of Bessemer," Jim Whittinghill, sales manager at Eagle Waste, said.
According to Whittinghill, the average American household tosses about 50 percent of recyclable material in the trash.
"The residents here will be able to have a very easy route to take to recycle 50 percent of their waste rate," he said. "When you can recycle 50 percent of what is generally going in the trash, in most cases, that's the right thing to do."
Eagle Waste will bring the trash to the Gogebic County Solid Waste Authority, and recyclable material will be processed at Eagle Waste Material Recovery Facility in Eagle River, Wis.
Whittinghill said the new recycling program will also be a win for the businesses in town.
Bill Steiger, of Steiger's Ace Hardware and Home Center in Bessemer, spoke during the meeting.
"The sheer volume of cardboard we go through, from all the packaging of items that we get, I estimate it's got to be somewhere around 70 percent of our trash," he said.
After talking with local business owners, Whittinghill said some have mentioned saving up to 40 percent on their bills because of the recycling.
Council member Al Gaiss said he favored the contract because it could help businesses save money.
"I think this is a real step forward," he said. "It's progress for Bessemer, and it also is assisting our neighbors – the people who live in this community. I think it's a step in the right direction."
The city expects Eagle Waste to begin providing service in about six to eight weeks. The company will be working with the city to provide residents with information in the coming months.
"We've never lost a municipal account, because we service you to death," Whittinghill said to the council. "In a positive way."