Collingswood is among eight Camden County towns seeking bids for trash-disposal services.
Participating municipalities include , Cherry Hill, Merchantville, Voorhees, Haddon Township, Somerdale and Winslow.
On Friday, May 6, Cherry Hill announced that Collingswood, Haddon Township, Somerdale and Winslow have joined the alliance, which now spans about 122 square miles and includes some 87,000 households.
“We’re bringing a lot of business to the table, and vendors know they need to cut our costs or they’ll lose that business,” Cherry Hill Mayor Bernie Platt said in a statement. “We’ve seen it work in the past, and I think we’ll see the same result in this instance.”
Collingswood Mayor James Maley said he didn't know what kind of cost-savings could be gleaned from the borough's participation.
Officials said three towns, Gloucester Township, Merchantville, and Cherry Hill—and its school district—would see about $2.75 million in savings over the five-year contract timeline.
Gloucester Township's mayor said the deal would save his town nearly $650,00, compared with the town's prior trash removal contract.
Mayor Maley said Collingswood is currently limited to participate in one aspect of the two-tiered plan.
“There are two different parts—(trash) collection and disposal. We’re still under contract with our current collection service, South Jersey Waste, so we can’t explore collection options with other towns,” said Maley. “But I believe we’re in the last year of our collections contract, and when we get out of it, we’d certainly be interested in exploring both parts of the plan.”
In the meantime, Collingswood will focus on seeking disposal bids.
“Obstacles under the law dictate our contract bidding and how we can do this. Cherry Hill and Gloucester Township are in a contract already,” he said. “Since we can’t just join, we have to go out for bid. We won’t officially be able to sign on until the state allows it.”
While the borough put out a bid for disposal services, Maley could not estimate when the process will conclude.
“We want to save money, and we would under this process, but we can’t just jump on board,” he said. “We don’t know how much it will save us. Disposal works like this—the higher the volume, the less the cost. And more trash reduces cost.”
Maley said residents would be unaffected by the alliance.
The disposal process was approved during commissioners' May 9 meeting, and Maley explained why this route is being explored.
"For a long time, we've been required (to dispose) at the incinerator. We no longer have to, as Camden County’s solid waste plan is being amended,” said Maley at the meeting. “We were about to go out to bid, and I talked with (Cherry Hill Mayor) Bernie Platt. Now we’re collectively chipping in for the tipping fee.
“We’ll pick up trash exactly the same way as before, we’re just disposing it somewhere else to save us money.”