Palmer Township is making changes to how it will collect garbage.
Instead of having one trash hauler, Palmer Township officials have decided to split the township's waste collection into three separate contracts: one for recycling, one for disposal and a third for hauling.
The township's current trash and recycling hauler is J.P. Mascaro & Sons.
"We will really be able to restructure," Township Manager Christopher Christman said. "We can drive our costs down in the end. It's going to be a much better process for everyone involved."
Township Recycling Coordinator Cindy Oatis delivered the final revision of the proposal before the Board of Supervisors at last week's meeting.
"I think we have it nailed down," she said in giving supervisors an update on waste hauler bids.
Oatis and the Palmer Township Environmental Steering Committee have held meetings to educate the public about the township's garbage collection options and benefits.
The final of four meetings will be on May 23 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the Palmer Memorial Library.
Oatis told supervisors that the contract changes will bring about better prices for the township, especially regarding recycling.
"We'll get some compensation back from our recyclables," Oatis said. "Now they will go to us."
Oatis said a recycling contract would come first followed by disposal and then hauling.
Supervisor Bob Lammi stressed that it's important to find out a hauler's qualifications and that the township needs to find out from bidders where they do their work now so references can be checked.
"That way, we can check with a municipality to see how their work is," Lammi said.
Lammi and Supervisor Robert Smith also wondered about the impact on fuel prices and that bids should be broken down to account for that.
Solicitor Charles Bruno said finding a hauler within a certain radius of the township might help.
Oatis said haulers would be encouraged to provide a flat-ton amount for recyclables since the commodities market is in constant flux.
The township's current contract, which expires at the end of April 2013, allows for unlimited garbage, weekly recycling and making residents separate their recyclables like newspapers, cans and glass.
Township officials want to beef up recycling efforts, which have fallen below 20 percent of total trash.
Oatis is stressing the importance of having a single-stream system where all recyclables such as glass, newsprint, paper and cardboard are placed in a single container.
The top option, Oatis believes, is going to a fully automated system. This system, she said, has trucks picking up trash using a mechanical arm and uses 96-gallon plastic containers with wheels and lids to contain garbage from spilling over or blowing away.
Colver asked supervisors and Oatis if there are any red flags.
"We've been working together," Bruno said. "I think we're ready to go out to bid."