County receives report on recycling program progress
Chris Cooper Managing Editor
Logan County magistrates have been curious about the success of the countywide recycling program that began in June of last year, which prompted them to ask Scott Waste Services to present an overview at the Tuesday, Feb. 11th fiscal court meeting. Attending the meeting for Scott Waste were Pete Reckard and Tommy Mosley. Also at the meeting was Harrison Rogers of Waste Management. Rogers is a sourcing specialist at the recycling station where Logan County’s recyclables end up.
Reckard told magistrates he felt the curbside recycling program in Logan County was going very well, and that most customers were getting the hang of it.
“It took a little while to get everyone used to it,” said Reckard. “There may be a little confusion still when to put the recycling cart out versus the waste carts, but for the most part customers are doing well.”
Reckard said only about 5 to 10 percent of the recycling collected was contaminated, which isn’t bad. Contamination comes from putting the wrong thing in with recyclables. One of the things that would help, said Reckard, is educating the customers on what can be recycled and what cannot.
“We ask that no plastic bags be put in the recycling carts because they get tangled up in the machines and it takes time to get them out,” said Rogers, who also mentioned pizza boxes. Anything that has food still on it, such as pizza boxes, would not be recycled. 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, 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.
The county gets a percentage of funds generated from the sale of recyclables, however, it hasn’t been generating as much as expected. Although the decision to offer countywide recycling wasn’t based on generating money alone, but doing what was right for the environment, the court and four cities of Auburn, Adairville, Lewisburg and Russellville did think they would see more then what they are getting by selling the recycling.
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 it was thought that number would rise considerably. Since July 19, 2013, through Dec. 18, 2014, the program has only generated $1,495. Scott Waste collected over 578 tons of recyclable material since they began in June 2013.
Rogers told the court that commodity prices were down, but were expected to go back up. He added that because of a recent one and half million dollar enhancement project at the recycling facility, which allows for better sorting, his company is increasing what it pays the county per ton. The payout will be going from $2.50 per ton of recyclable material to $8.50 per ton beginning in February. The increase will change a bit after taking off the $3.25 of fees charged the county to sort through the recycling, which will bring the actual increase to around $5 per ton.
The county received a bill in the mail recently from Waste Management for $150, which was due to the $2.50 per ton not meeting the $3.50 fees. Judge Executive Logan Chick told Rogers the county would pay for that bill, but would most likely not pay for another. Rogers said he understood and didn’t see that occurring again due to the recent increase given.
Reckard reminded the county they were leading the state by example of how to run a countywide recycling program, and that there were other counties looking at how Logan does it.
“I think most people will agree this program has been very successful,” said magistrate Thomas Bouldin, who lead the way for the program to be offered to everyone. “We wanted a program that would help the environment and have the least impact on our citizens. This is why we went with co-mingling recycling, so citizens would not have to separate their recyclables, but just throw them in the cart.”
Bouldin said the only thing he has heard about the program in his district is that customers want the recycling to be picked up twice a month instead of once. Magistrate Jo Orange said she had also heard some in her district say the same.
Rogers said he really thought he county would start seeing an increase in what it generates from its recycling, adding his company was going to be performing an audit soon on the material that is sent to them from Logan County to see exactly what is being collected and how much is contaminated material. Rogers told magistrates he would come back to them and give them an update once the audit is preformed.
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