The Exchange’s Proposal to Manage Waste on Orcas

Update: many of the questions raised in this article have been addressed in the online facebook interactive site.

For OI TV to endorse any plan, the plan needs to be visible. Goals are fine, but nuts and bolts are important too. For example, how much research has the Exchange/ORS into the volume of and composition of trash delivered? Are there any tangible, measurable mechanics to improving recycling that are in the ORS plan?

It seems a cursory look at the typical trash flow would reveal some potentials, such as bottle recycling, both plastic and glass. Metals recycling, and of course, wood and other obvious trash components.

Where will ORS get its expertise in trash management? internally, hire out?

Are there any near term visible project goals? for example,

  • 1. research the waste stream
  • 2. determine what investments will be needed to re-use, or recycle that portion of the waste stream
  • 3. determine the sustainable financial model for that waste stream so customers will know how much more it will cost to have ORS/The Exchange manage the waste stream.
  • 4. engage interactively with the community using social networking
  • 5. report on progress in real time – how much output is being reused
  • 6. list the materials that are recovered from the waste stream so *all* islanders can *find* it.

I see that the community may need to become more involved, for example, by sorting trash before delivering it to the transfer station. That extra labor could save many thousands of dollars each year, if Islanders would comply.

How will the pricing of trash transfer change? for example, will Islanders pay less if they sort, and if the sorted materials are a net profit to the ORS/Exchange company?

And why is the ORS/Exchange a non-profit instead of a Co-op? Aren’t co-ops owned by the membership, and therefore empowered to rule over the ORS/Exchange more easily?

Finally, is there an ORS Non-profit formally and legally created that has the authority to sign contracts? Where are the articles of incorporation and bylaws?

As many know Trash is a huge cost and potential revenue generator, if done right. Waste management and others have created valuable businesses in returning the waste stream to profit for the community. Where will the profits from this effort be directed, by whom, for how long?

Since a very large amount of both tax and Islander resources are going to flow into this team, the team should produce a proposal a bit more concrete than what I’ve seen so far. This is a crucial, multi-million dollar endeavor over time.

From the Exchange:
IMPORTANT EXCHANGE NEWS: Do you believe in responsible management of solid waste? At The Exchange, we do. And we need your help.

The County is getting out of the solid waste business. They are looking for private entities to take over the Orcas Transfer Station.

Orcas Recycling Services (ORS) / THE EXCHANGE has presented a plan to the county to take over management of the Orcas Island Transfer Station. Here are our goals:

1. The Exchange will continue, expand, and improve it’s
services to the community.

2. Orcas Recycling Services (ORS), the umbrella non-profit
of The Exchange, proposes to take over the management
of the Orcas Island Transfer Station.

3. We will create new and sustainable local jobs and maintain
existing personnel to enable a seamless transition.

4. Zero Waste will be our guiding principle and eventual
goal…reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, and compost.

5. Keeping it local…local management…local jobs…local
resources to foster a healthy local economy.

There is only one other company interested in this contract, Cimmaron Trucking, an off-island subsidiary of corporate giant Waste Management. We believe that under their control fees for garbage will be higher, range of services will be minimal, and they have little or no investment in our community.

URGENT ACTION REQUESTED! Please write letters and emails to council members and selection committee members to let them know, within the next week or so, that you want ORS/The Exchange, your local non-profit, to manage and operate our Orcas Island Transfer Station, not an off-island corporation (the decision will be made on or before July 30, 2012).

Come to a forum on the issue! The Exchange will host two:
Monday, July 23, and Friday the 27th, both 5:30 – 7:30 at the Eastsound Firehall.

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