Since curbside recycling began in June for the unincorporated areas of the county and four cities, only $1,396 has been collected through the sale of the commodities. This is a lot less than was anticipated and contamination is believed to be part of the culprit.
Scott Waste Services provides the county with its recycling program. The company picks up the recyclable material once a month in lieu of trash pickup, and transports it to Tennessee where they sell it. According to the agreement with Scott, those funds come back to the communities to be shared on a percentage basis. Unfortunately, the money collected on recyclables for the past six months hasn’t been very much.
“People are putting the wrong thing in their recycling carts, which causes contamination to the whole cart,” said Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick. “This renders the recyclable material in the cart useless. It is very important people learn what should and shouldn’t be recycled.”
Chick said he believes people are trying to do the right thing, but they need to pay closer attention to what is recycled.
He noted that the decision to launch a countywide recycling program was not based on a financial return, but doing what was right for the environment. The monies generated through selling the recyclables is just an added extra. The judge believes the funds will pick up, however, when people get used to recycling.
“It has been less than a year since the program officially began. People are still learning what to do,” said a confident Chick. “I know the cities may be disappointed in what funds have come in, but I do believe it will get better.”
The good news is customers seem to be happy for the most part with the program. There are those who still remain skeptical, and do not wish to recycle. Some believe the once a month recycling pickup leaves trash piling up, while others would like to see recyclables picked up twice a month instead of once because they have so much.
When the county decided to kick off a recycling pilot program a few years ago, the initiative generated $1,200 in one years time on close to 400 customers. With adding all Scott customers that brings it to 9,500 in the county and the four cities. By using the calculations based on the pilot program, thousands of dollars were expected.
Another reason for not receiving the estimated return, said Chick, is the low market.
“The return on recyclables fluctuates,” said Chick. “One moment they are up, the next they are down. Right now they are down. It all depends on the market.”
The following, according to Scott Waste, is what can and cannot be placed in the recycling cart:
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)
All plastic containers and lids
Do Not Recycle
Food contaminated paper, 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.
Empty containers, rinse all food and beverage containers and flatten, crush or cut all cardboard boxes. All recyclables must be placed in the recycling cart. Scott Waste Services asks customers to please not put any trash into the recyclable cart, but instead into the trash cart.