The county’s curbside recycling program may actually outweigh the costs that would be increased to customers without it. Or at least that is a point made by magistrate Thomas Bouldin at the Tuesday, Jan. 24 fiscal court meeting that made an impact on fellow magistrate Dickie Carter.
“Well, why didn’t you tell me this to begin with,” said Carter. “It would have saved me a lot of work.”
Carter has been questioning the program that has been costing the county between $1,000-$3,000 a month for the past several months. The program used to generate money. At almost every court meeting, which is held twice a month, Carter mentions recycling, saying he thinks it is costing too much. Carter still believes customers should not have to be made to recycle, but instead it should be voluntary. According to Carter, it cost the county $1,208 in November 2016 and $1,022 in December to haul off the county’s recyclables.
Bouldin, who spearheaded the recycling program three years ago, asked Pete Reckard, District Manager for Scott Waste Services, LLC, if customer’s bills would have been higher had the county not decided to recycle. “Yes,” answered Reckard. It costs Scott to haul waste to the landfill and the company is charged. Those fees would be passed onto the customer. With recycling, less goes into the landfill.
“I know Jo (Orange) and I were the only ones on the court at the time the contract was passed,” said Bouldin Tuesday. “As I remember it, by recycling the customers paid less than what they would have had if we had not entered into the program. That means we are saving the customers money in the long run and doing the right thing by recycling. You need to remember that Mr. Carter the next time you complain.”
As the program is set up now, customers of Scott Waste Services, LLC receive trash pickup three or four times a month and recycling pickup once in lieu of trash. Carter contends he hears all the time people saying they don’t like it because the trash overflows when recycling is picked up in its place each month.
Reckard said he hears quite the opposite.
“The largest majority of calls I receive tell me they want recycling picked up twice a month instead of once because their recycling cans are overflowing,” said Reckard.
Reckard attended the Tuesday, Jan. 24 fiscal court meeting to give an update on the curbside recycling program. He praised the program and Logan County for its steadfast commitment in recycling. According to Reckard, 803,000 tons of recyclable materials were collected in Logan County in 2016. Reckard said 70 percent of that was kept out of a landfill. The other 30 percent was contaminated materials that were not supposed to be recycled.
Scott collects the county’s recyclables and transports them to QRS in Louisville. When the program first began, the county and its four cities were making money off of selling the recyclables. Unfortunately, commodity pricing is down at the moment.
“It’s like a roller coaster,” said Reckard. “Commodity prices will eventually go back up.”
Magistrate Orange asked Reckard if contamination was a huge problem. Reckard said there will always be contamination in the stream and will be a continuing battle until customers learn what can be put in the recycling container and what should go into the trash.
You can recycle aluminum, tin, steel and bi-metal cans, newspaper, cardboard, junk mail and other paper products, paperback and phone books, magazines, paper grocery bags and carton board such as cereal and shoe boxes (flatten all boxes and remove plastic bags), and all plastic containers and lids.
Do not recycle, food contaminated paper such as pizza boxes with cheese on them, hardcover books, photos, tissue paper, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic bags, styrofoam, glass containers, mirrors, ceramics or light bulbs. No hazardous materials including: automotive liquids, garden chemicals, paint products, cleaners and fluorescent lamps.
Curbside recycling is just one way the county offers the service. There is a county recycling center located on Morgantown Road outside of Russellville. Citizens bring their recyclables there as well. The county partners with Bluegrass Recycling to handle the flow from that location. However, Bluegrass Recycling will soon be closing its doors.
“We are going to have to start looking into an alternative,” said Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick. “Bluegrass is closing. They have said they will find us a new company, but this is something the committee needs to start focusing on.”
Reckard told the court Tuesday, Scott Waste Services would like to sit down with the court and offer help to the pending situation.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.