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City to recycler: Cease and desist

Waste Pro Territory Manager E.J. Kruger talks Thursday about his company’s curbside pickup recycling program that started Monday in Albany and Dougherty County. (June 20, 2013)

Waste Pro Territory Manager E.J. Kruger talks Thursday about his company’s curbside pickup recycling program that started Monday in Albany and Dougherty County. (June 20, 2013)

ALBANY — City Attorney Nathan Davis said Friday afternoon solid waste collection company Waste Pro is violating state constitutional law by offering curbside recyclable collection service within the city limits of Albany.

Davis also confirmed that, as reported at albanyherald.com Friday morning, City Manager James Taylor had directed him to compose a cease-and-desist letter to send to Waste Pro Territory Manager E.J. Kruger after a story about the recycling program appeared in Friday's Albany Herald.

"This is not Nathan Davis or some other attorney's interpretation of the law; the Georgia Constitution clearly says that city and county governments have sole control of household waste collection within their jurisdictions," Davis said. "That's a pretty important and impressive document.

"Dougherty County recognizes the city of Albany as the soul provider of solid waste collection services within the municipality. And municipal solid waste is described as any household garbage other than tree-trimmings, concrete blocks, old lumber or other construction and demolition materials. That includes any type of debris generated in a household. It's very clear."

Kruger, who said Friday afternoon he and the Albany Waste Pro offices had been inundated with phone calls from potential customers since the Herald story was published, noted a difference in interpretation his company has as to the definition of "garbage."

"They're calling these recyclable materials garbage," said Kruger, who has managed the Albany Waste Pro division since the company established a franchise here in December of 2011. "Recyclable goods are not garbage, they're not solid waste. Anything that can be recycled is defined as a commodity.

"We aren't breaking the letter of Albany's ordinance. We're providing a service that the city does not provide. If they're going to stop us from doing this, they should stop Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful from collecting recyclables as well."

Taylor said early Friday morning that Waste Pro's curbside recycling pickup violated contractual agreements the city has in place.

"Nathan is looking into this right now, but we don't believe (Waste Pro) can legally do what they say they're doing," Taylor said. "We have a contract for all solid waste services in the city, and we believe what Waste Pro is doing violates that contract."

Davis said solid waste collection in the city is divided between a contracted provider and city Solid Waste Division employees.

Kruger indicated he would like to discuss the matter with city officials, and Davis said he welcomed such a meeting.

"I'm sure he's counting on what you in the media call a 'swell of public opinion,'" the city attorney said. "But our concern is the law. I'd love to have the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Kruger and discuss this matter."

In addition to calls made to Kruger and Waste Pro Friday, The Herald also received a number of requests for additional information about the recycling program.