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Emails show sudden decision on removal of Moser’s recycling centers

mosers recycling 7-20
KMIZ
Moser's supermarket on North Keene Street in Columbia.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The negotiations seemed to be going well.

Columbia Solid Waste leaders were discussing in June a new lease for their recycling drop off center in the Moser's grocery store parking lot on North Keene Street. Store manager Adam Schnetzler had made a counter offer on June 28 - lease the space for $12,000 in the first year of a 20-year lease. He also wanted to allow each side of the lease to give a 90-day notice to end the agreement, shorter than the 180 days the city originally provided. The city would also make some site improvements as part of the deal.

"We are really close on this agreement," Schnetzler wrote.

Emails obtained by ABC 17 News show that Solid Waste leaders were in favor of those changes. Utilities director David Sorrell said on June 29 he supported the changes. But just a day later, the tone shifted.

"Roger [Moser] wants them gone in seven days," Schnetzler wrote on June 30.

The emails do not show any explanation for why Moser's made the decision to have the two recycling drop off sites removed from both their Keene Street and Business Loop 70 locations. Schnetzler declined to comment on the issue.

Solid Waste continues to grapple with ways to handle an influx of material coming into its drop off sites following its switch to a "pay as you throw" collection system. Bins overflow at some locations, and the city has noted things left illegally at the sites. A July 2 news release from the city said "improper disposal" of material at the Moser's sites contributed to the decision to remove them.

The loss of those two spots leaves the entire north side of Columbia without a recycling drop off site. The Home Depot temporarily removed the bins at its parking lot in June.

Tamara Gull used the Moser's drop off sites for some of her recycling. She said she was not surprised Moser's decided it didn't want the bins anymore.

"I will say the Moser's folks have been incredibly tolerant of the disaster site that the drop off site has been for quite a while," Gull said.

The city is working on developing a drop off site at Cosmo Park, and Sorrell told the Columbia City Council that plans are in the works to build a new one on Oakland Gravel Road.

Data from the city shows that Solid Waste has collected 1,600 tons of recyclable material from the drop off sites from February to June 15 of this year. That's up from the 1,100 tons collected in the same time last year, and 1,000 tons collected in 2019.

Emails show the city needed to spend $1,915 to clean paint out of the Moser's parking lot. Photos from May show stains spilled throughout the Business Loop location's lot.

Photo attached in a May 25 email from Steve Hunt to David Sorrell.

The emails do not say if the spill played a part in Moser's decision to have the bins removed.

Matt Arthur used the Business Loop location for some of his recycling.

"It looked like people were really doing their best to sort, it's just that the city was not picking up often enough to keep from overflowing," Arthur said. "I didn't see trash dumping as much as just overflowing cardboard and overflowing mixed recyclables."

Gull said she did not an uptick in trash left at the dumpsters in the months since Columbia started the "pay as you throw" system.

ABC 17 News Investigates / Boone / Columbia / Columbia City Government / Local News / Local Politics / News / Politics / Video

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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