BPS only recycling clean cardboard due to new vendor policies

LeAnne Bugay, Editor-in-Chief

Bellevue Public Schools will only recycle clean cardboard from now on due to recent recycling changes from its vendor, Premier Waste Solutions.

This summer, Premier owner Mike Shrader sent a letter to BPS, and other customers, notifying them that Premier will no longer accept anything recyclable, except for clean, old corrugated cardboard, from commercial businesses because contaminants, like food, increase prices for recycling haulers. The decision went into effect on July 1.

Superintendent Jeff Rippe said that the letter from Premier was sent to all staff members to inform them of the change. He said that some staff members have volunteered to take recyclables like paper and plastic home to dispose of in their own recycling bins.

“We’re still encouraging people to recycle,” Rippe said. “The problem is when we received notification from our vendor that they will no longer pick that stuff up, it kind of puts us in a bind. What do we do with all that material?”

BPS’ waste contract is up at the end of the year, and Rippe said that the district must create a bid process to send to several waste companies, regardless of Premier’s changes. Recycling will be a part of the district’s bid process, but they must weigh costs before potentially choosing a vendor with a larger recycling program.

“We’re not saying we don’t want to recycle or we’re against recycling, it’s just unfortunately the vendor made that decision,” Rippe said. “And if students, if staff members, if parents, whatever stakeholder — if they have an idea on what we could do differently we’d be very happy to listen to that.”