NEWTON — Waste Management and Harvey County are renegotiating contracts, looking closely at recycling services in the county.

At issue, according to county administration, are not only the fees charged but also how much material that is not recyclable is winding up in recycling bins.

The current county ordinance prohibits grass clipping, leaves and household hazardous waste from being placed in the waste stream. It also prohibits recycling materials in the waste stream.

The cities provide recycling to their residents, and they also enforce recycling rules.

“We have previously told haulers that they need to provide recycling in the county,” said Anthony Swartzendruber, county administrator.

However, getting those recyclables sorted is an issue because of how much waste is being placed in recycling containers.

“The amount of contamination within the recycling continues to be an issue,” Swartzendruber said.

He told the commission he was given estimates that between 25 to 30 percent of what is taken as recyclables is actually trash.

Waste Management transports recyclables to a facility in Hutchinson for sorting.

“We are currently paying $14 per ton to WM to process recycling. In 2020 we will be raising our fee to customers from $18 per ton to $19 per ton,” Swartzendruber said.

For transport of waste, the county is paying $33 per ton to the Reno County landfill. In 2020, it will jump to $35.

Waste Management will be meeting with the commission next week to discuss the contract. The contract expires in April 2022.

“They are not satisfied with the contract with the level of contamination that is in it,” Swartzendruber said.