The Colony City Council on Tuesday approved an amendment to its contract with Republic Services that, among other things, places a heavier emphasis on recycling education.

As part of the amendment, Republic will fund a education program to help reduce the amount of contamination that is going into the recycling stream. The program will make use of the website, which includes videos, literature and other education tools that teach proper recycling and the importance of it. It has different sections to reach both adults and children.

Information will also be sent out through utility bills, social media and in-office handouts to support the initiative.

Republic encourages residents to make sure the items are clean, empty and dry. Pizza boxes shouldn’t be recycled because of the grease. Plastic grocery store bags are discouraged from being in the cart as well.

Molly Owczar, director of community services for the city, said Republic will post stickers on residents’ recycling carts to show what is and isn’t recyclable.

She said a recent audit indicates that the city’s contamination rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 was around 22 percent.

“That’s not horrible, but we would like to get that to under 15 percent in year one and under 10 percent at the end of year two,” Owczar said.

Mayor Joe McCourry said The Colony’s contamination percentage has gone down ever since the city began its education efforts.

“If we step up the dollars and push this even further we can make this even better,” McCourry said.

He noted Republic’s desire to have a partnership with recycling education, saying that not all cities have that opportunity without paying a lot more money.

The program will also make use of the recycling center in Plano.

Another result of the amendment is a two-year rate freeze for the consumer price index (CPI), though the recycling process fee will go up by $1.32, effective this June. Owczar said once the market takes an upward turn the processing fee could be reduced, and there could be a revenue share with the city.

Owczar said The Colony’s rate is at or below others in comparison to all services that are offered in the city.

Another change is Republic will increase the amount of compost it provides the city from four loads per year to eight.

Going forward, Republic will only observe three holidays – New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day – instead of the current six.  

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