Fenwick To Form Committee On Mandatory Recycling

FENWICK ISLAND – With business owners now being required to have recycling collected by state law, Fenwick Island is exploring the best way to have commercial properties comply.
During last Friday afternoon’s Town Council meeting, Town Manager Merritt Burke brought to the council’s attention a new state law that will mandate all commercial businesses in Delaware to participate in a comprehensive recycling program.
According to the State of Delaware, all commercial businesses in Delaware will be required to participate in a comprehensive recycling program no later than Jan. 1, 2014. This includes for-profit and non-profit retail and wholesale stores, offices, food service establishments, warehouses, and other manufacturing, industrial or processing activities, and institutions such as social, charitable, educations, health care, professional and government services.
Waste haulers are already required to provide single-stream recycling collection to both single- and multi-family residential customers. The goal of the Universal Recycling Law is to maximize the convenience of recycling and minimize the amount of trash disposed in Delaware.
Burke explained Universal Recycling for single- and multi-family residents became a state law a couple of years ago. The town is currently under a three-year contract with a company to collect residential recycling.
At that time, the council elected to exempt commercial properties from the law.
“You chose not to include the commercial in the past probably because of the complexity, the different types of service, and with most of the businesses shutting down in the winter,” said Burke, who was hired after the Universal Recycling Law went into effect. “The commercial businesses in town now have to comply by Jan. 1, and their current providers for recycling if they have it should have notified them.”
Without having time to think over the matter, Mayor Audrey Serio questioned if the recycling mandate for commercial properties would ultimately become the town’s responsibility if businesses decided not to comply.
Serio explained currently commercial properties provide their own solid waste collection, which has created a problem with the number of different trash collection trucks coming into town at different times.
“We never know when there is a problem or who the problem is because everybody has their own provider,” she said. “Maybe we should think about if we should mandate it where one company would come into town to do both the trash and recycling … We took responsibility for the residential, so why shouldn’t we take responsibility for the commercial to make sure they do it? We need to research it. I don’t know if we need to micro-manage this.”
On the other hand, Councilman William Weistling thought it may be easier to have the commercial properties keep their individual solid waste collection provider and just have recycle collection added to their service for those who don’t already have it.
“There may be times in the year where they will need more than one pick up a week and there may be other times where they don’t need one at all,” he said.
Weistling made a motion to have town staff research the issue prior to council mandating recycling on commercial properties.
Weistling made a suggestion to form a subcommittee of Fenwick business owners to gauge opinion and pass forward a favorable recommendation to the council for action. The council voted unanimously to approve the motion.