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Rogue to reduce hours at transfer station

WHITE CITY — Declining use and a deteriorating recycling market has led Rogue Disposal & Recycling Inc., to reduce hours at its Table Rock Road transfer station and Dry Creek Landfill.

Effective Jan. 4, Rogue Transfer & Recycling will open two hours later and operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the station will be closed on Sunday. The Dry Creek Landfill, which caters to large contract haulers, will operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday.

"The customer volume has dropped 10 to 20 percent," said Gary Penning, Rogue Disposal's business development manager. "We were getting as many as 700 cars on Saturdays and Sundays. Now it's down to less than 700 combined. We know it's going to inconvenience some folks, but our lowest usage is in the morning. First thing in the morning it's like a ghost town."

During the height of the residential building boom, builders and manufacturers produced plenty of waste and recyclable materials. But with construction and other industries slowing down, the effects are clear to see on the spread sheets.

"You have places like CertainTeed laying off people and the construction layoffs, that's where we're seeing the most effects," Penning said.

Penning said reduced volume meant a choice between fewer hours or higher rates. The minimum rate has ratcheted up to $15 in recent years. Part of that, Penning said, was to encourage fewer trips and larger loads.

The recycled material that Rogue Disposal ships to as many as 10 sites as far away as southwest Washington has been harder to sell even as prices have fallen.

"The markets are in horrible shape," Penning said. "Commingled recycling picked up at the curb is sold as one commodity and transported to the Portland area where paper, tin and cardboard are sorted. Prices have plunged 50 to 60 percent, if not more. We're able to get rid of it now, but it's more difficult and we're doing everything we can to make sure we can keep shipping it."

While government has mandated recycling programs in recent years, there is no mechanism to guarantee someone has to buy the recycled material.

No paper or plastics company is required to buy a guaranteed amount of tons," Penning said. "At times, we just end up storing it."

That was the case Nov. 21-30 when International Paper's Albany mill shut down. Similarly a mill in Halsey that accepts office grade paper is shut down for a week.

"There's no place to send plastic film right now," he said. "Steel is down, copper, brass all those markets are down. Unfortunately, gold isn't in any of our collection programs."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

Rogue to reduce hours at transfer station