Just 6 months after its creation, the Drop recycling center already seeing success
FRASER — It has only been a little over six months since Fraser opened its recycling and pay-as-you-throw center, the Drop, but it’s already accomplished its main goal of helping residents reduce waste and recycle more.
Since its opening, the Drop has collected almost 70,000 pounds of recycling and over 2,600 pay-as-you-throw trash bags have been sold. Michael Brack, assistant town manager of Fraser, said the community has been very supportive of the project.
“People are really verbal about how excited they are that this is here,” Brack said. “They’re very grateful for it.”
The Drop was created in response to a 2016 countywide waste diversion study, which highlighted the need for a recycling and trash center in the Fraser and Winter Park area. Brack said he thinks the convenience and location of the Drop has been key to its success.
“It has really helped with local businesses dealing with dumpster poaching, with people not having an idea of what to do with their trash and recycling and having nearby recycling is a big part of it, too,” Brack explained.
Aside from helping residents reduce waste, Fraser also hoped that eventually the Drop would be successful enough to be self-sustainable. While it isn’t quite there yet, Brack said it is much closer than town officials originally expected.
Between money raised through the purchase of pay-as-you-throw bags and donations, the Drop collected $22,300 in revenue in 2018. Each pay-as-you-throw bag is 40 gallons and cost $8.50.
The total operating costs for the Drop in 2018 was almost $35,000, not including the engineering and construction costs.
Brack expects operating costs to be more stable and potentially decrease now that the Drop has the proper number of dumpsters for trash and recycling and a dedicated full-time employee.
“In July, when we opened, we started with nine recycling and nine trash dumpsters, which was right on for recycling,” Brack said. “Once we cut (the trash bins) down to four, that significantly lowered our cost, as well as getting a dedicated worker there.”
Fraser also recently passed a 20 cent disposable bag fee and the town plans to use 60 percent of its share of the money raised from the fee to support the Drop and other sustainability programs. Brack said with the money from the disposable bag fee and adjusting the costs, he is optimistic about the Drop’s finances this year.
“I’m hoping that the facility will be financially self-sustainable in 2019, and once we get to that point we are looking at some different expansion programs,” he said.
Some options the town is considering are initiatives like an electronics recycling program or sponsoring neighborhood clean-ups, Brack said. The town has also started working on rerouting County Road 72 to wrap around the Drop to make access easier, as well as supplying power to the Drop site.
“It’s been something that the community is proud of, which has been our whole goal,” Brack said. “It’s not seen as a dump, it’s seen as a community service.”
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