of recyclable materials await transport in the
Waukesha County Materials Recycling Facility.
Freeman file photo
— A plan which will be brought before the Waukesha
County Board this month could save the county hundreds of
thousands in recycling costs, but may also lead to the
closing of a local recycling facility. Dale Shaver,
director of the county‘s Department of Parks & Land
Use, is recommending a plan under which Waukesha would
partner with the city of Milwaukee to send all of its
recyclables to a joint facility in the Menomonee Valley.
This intergovernmental agreement originally sought to use
the current Waukesha County Material Recycling Facility on
South Prairie Avenue as a transfer station, where
materials could be compacted down before being taken to
the joint facility.
However, it was later found that by taking materials
directly to the Menomonee Valley location, the county can
save an average of $267,703 annually over a seven-year
period — a 44 percent savings totaling approximately
$1.8 million. Shaver projects that therefore, the South
Prairie Avenue location would fall out of use and be shut
“We are going to be recommending to the County Board
that we should not operate that transfer station,” he
said. “These trucks are going to be larger, and because
all the material is now going to be single- stream, it can
be compacted in these trucks much more than it was
dualstream, so they would have fewer trips down to the
joint facility down in Milwaukee.”
If approved, this would affect 25 of the 37 communities in
Waukesha County — only those that chose to allow the
county to handle their recyclables after the Wisconsin
Recycling Law passed in 1990.
Under this new plan, Waukesha County would pay ReCommunity
— the vendor handling the raw recyclables — $30 per
ton to process that material. In return, the county would
get back 80 percent of the cash value of the recyclables.
ReCommunity would also have to pay the county $2 per ton
for an educational program, which would total
approximately an additional $60,000 per year.
Martinez, left, and Alicia Dickerson sort recyclable
materials in the Waukesha County Materials Recycling
Facility in this February 2013 photo. The site could
close under a plan being considered by the County
Freeman file photo
the recycled materials are then sold for an average of
$120 per ton — which is what the county‘s five-year
average selling price has been — then according to
Shaver, the county could make back approximately $2
million after all expenses by 2030. For local residents,
Shaver said, the new system would also make their lives
“Instead of separating out your cardboard and your paper
from your plastics and your metals — it goes all in the
same bin,” he said.
A wider variety of plastics could also be recycled, such
as containers for fruit and orange juice and plastics from
toys, which were previously thrown away.
The plan will be brought to the Executive, Parks &
Land Use and Finance Committees next week before it is
heard by the full County Board at its July 22 meeting.
A truck enters the
Waukesha County Materials Recycling Center Friday.
The facility could be closed in a new plan to
integrate recycling with Milwaukee.
Waukesha County Legislative Policy Advisor Sarah Spaeth
said many of the county supervisors seemed to favor the
plan when it was brought before the board earlier this
“When this went to the County Board as a project, it was
very well received,” she said. “(There was) one
dissenter in the whole thing, and basically, that
supervisor‘s community is not part of this.”
If the plan is approved by the board, Shaver said, he
hopes to have each of the 25 communities contracted with a
company to haul their materials by this fall. If that
happens, the plan would be ready to go into effect by
early next year.
“Our goal is to have them in place by September and then
the communities could sign the hauling contracts with
their haulers and we would be ready to start receiving
material by January 2015,” he said.