Fanwood Council Authorizes Shared Services Agreement for Curbside Recycling

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr discusses the benefits of the new curbside recycling program. Credits: Sean Conklin
Councilman Kevin Boras talks about the cost certainty model that the three-year agreement with curbside recycling program offers. Credits: Sean Conklin
Councilman Tom Kranz explains to concerned residents that they're doing what's best for everone in the borough and not to push an agenda. Credits: Sean Conklin
Councilwoman Katherine Mitchell abstained from her vote on Monday evening citing "unresolved issues" such as accommodations for seniors in the curbside recycling program. Credits: Sean Conklin

FANWOOD, NJ – The Fanwood Council voted at Monday evening’s regularly scheduled meeting to authorize Mayor Colleen Mahr and Borough Clerk Eleanor McGovern with the ability to sign a shared services agreement with Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) for curbside pickup of recyclables. The curbside recycling program is set to begin shortly after Labor Day this year. It effectively will end an era in which Fanwood was the only town in Union County without a curbside recycling service.

The three-year agreement with PMUA and Colgate Paper Stock Co. will cost the borough and its taxpayers $120,000 annually. In comparison, the Fanwood Recycling Center requested an $80,000 budget in their most recent application for funding, a figure that represented a gradual increase in each of the last three years and twice as much as it was in the last year. In addition to the rising costs, the Fanwood Recycling Center faced shortcomings in the volume of recycling it was processing.

“Cost certainty is built into this contract,” suggested Councilman Kevin Boris. “What we’ve experienced in the past few years (with the Fanwood Recycling Center) is not cost certainty.”

Sign Up for E-News

Loss of the Fanwood Recycling Center’s 501(c)3 status was cited as the stimulating factor to seek alternative recycling options, which led the Council to pursue bidding from other providers. Declining recycling numbers – Fanwood had a substantially lower recycling rate than Garwood, a town of half the size – and increasing expenses led the governing body to its decision.

“The amount of money that the taxpayers are investing in the community is rising and the amount of tonnage which comes back to us in the form of a grant has been decreasing – numbers at the center have been declining,” explained Mahr. “We have to look at the entire community when we pay our taxpayers’ dollars and right now, we’re not providing a service for our entire community.”

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Katherine Mitchell abstained from the vote citing “unresolved issues” and was the only member of the Council to do so.

“There is no way that I can move the (recycling) bin myself up and down the hill,” said Mitchell, who echoed the concerns of many residents that voiced their fears during public comment at Monday evening’s meeting. “I cannot wholeheartedly say yes.”

Moving forward, the volunteers of Fanwood’s Recycling Center (currently closed) hopes to continue operating, despite a seemingly upward climb.

“We don’t have a clear definition of keeping the center going,” said Harry McNally, a long-time volunteer of the Fanwood Recycling Center. “We’re still trying to figure out how to work it to the advantage of Fanwood when and after curbside gets going. The center is starting to suffer, and we’re trying to get it going again.”

During public comment, approximately a dozen residents came to the podium to talk about the good that the recycling center had offered for decades and the features they’d miss most about it. They also addressed the concerns that they had with the new curbside pickup program including the moving and housing of heavy recycling bins to the streets.

“I feel it’s a disappointing loss for Fanwood,” said John Everson, a resident of the borough.

In the coming weeks, the Council will work to address these issues as they prepare set to launch the program in September 2016. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Sinai or Sanctuary?



And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Former Cranford Mayor Endorses Nick Scutari for Democratic Chair

February 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

Having Senator Scutari lead the (Democratic) party would certainly put Cranford in a good position for resolving the issues we face such as gun control, flood mitigation and public safety.

Union County is made up of urban and suburban communities, that we need to protect. The stronger our communities are, the stronger the diversity and our being connected will be.

Senator ...

Being Alone on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2018

Valentine’s Day is a day filled with Hallmark cards, chocolate covered strawberries, red roses and special dining.  It’s a day to express our love and affection to those close to us.  Some of us have expectations that this day will be blissful, we may even receive that diamond ring that represents engagement or marriage.

Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful time if ...

Girls Basketball: Union Catholic Will Play In Game To Support Childhood Cancer

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Union Catholic varsity girls basketball team is honored to be playing in the Gold-Out game at Bernards High School for the third straight year, a game that will raise money and awareness for Childhood Cancer.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m, is called the “Gold-Out’’ game because gold is the awareness color for Childhood Cancer.

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 18, 3:00 PM

Lawton C. Johnson Middle School , Summit

New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra Free ...

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20, 1:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Book Club @ Scotlib: The Japanese Lover by Isabel ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Tue, February 20, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance