County to pay for recycling program temporarily

By Chris Cooper -

It looks as if the county will now be paying for its curbside recycling program each month instead of generating funds from it.

The change comes from a drop in how much recycling is worth, which according to Pete Reckard of Scott Waste Services, is a fluctuating market.

“Prices could rise again soon or it may take a while, but they will go up again,” said Reckard.

Scott Waste Services contracts with the county and its four cities to handle waste and recycling in a unified agreement. What little revenue that was generated since recycling began a few years ago, has been shared by a percentage between the cities and county.

Scott had originally been taking the county’s recyclables to a sorting center in Nashville owned and operated by QRS. The Nashville center was recently purchased by Scott’s competitor Waste Management, which now wants to charge the county $85 per ton to take the recycling materials instead of paying for them. According to Reckard, Waste Management claims commodity prices are down, and the county’s recycling is too contaminated to make it worth anything.

Scott picks up approximately 70 tons of recycling materials per month in Logan County.

According to Reckard, Waste Management says 85 percent of the county’s recycling is contaminated, which means it is mixed with garbage and non-recyclables. Reckard said he strongly disagrees with their assessment, and that the county’s recycling is only 10-15 percent contaminated.

“I disagree intensely with Waste Management,” said Reckard, who decided to make a change a few months ago, taking the county’s recyclables to a QRS facility in Louisville which is only charging $20 per ton at this time.

“I wasn’t able to come to the county and ask permission to make the change, but I did what I thought was best for the county at the time. I am now asking if we can continue taking it to QRS,” he said.

Reckard added that Scott Waste would absorb the cost associated with taking the recycling to Louisville the past few months because he made the decision to do so.

According to Reckard, QRS agreed the percentage of contamination from Logan County’s recycling was not 85 percent.

Taking the county’s recycling to QRS in Louisville at this time will cost the county an average of $1,400 per month versus what Waste Management wanted at $6,400 per month.

“It could go up or it could stay the same,” said Reckard who reminded the court Tuesday they could start generating money from it as well when commodity prices rise.

Magistrate Thomas Bouldin, who spearheaded the recycling program, reiterated the program was not implemented to generate money, but to do the right thing.

“We started this program to do the right thing. It wasn’t to make money, but to take the recyclables out of the waste stream and to educate our children on what it right. The money was an added extra,” said Bouldin.

Magistrates decided to allow Reckard to continue to take the county’s recyclables to QRS in Louisville for the short-term, for the county to absorb the cost to do so temporarily, and to have judge executive Logan Chick go and talk with the cities of Adairville, Auburn, Lewisburg and Russellville and explain the situation.

When the commodity prices go back up, the cities will be asked to forgo their percentage of profit to equal the amount that the county absorbs while prices are down.

Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton was at Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting and said he felt that would be a fair solution.

By Chris Cooper

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

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