County struggles with recycling efforts

County struggles with recycling efforts
June 23
05:45 2016

Forsyth County is having difficulty maintaining contractors for its recycling program in the unincorporated parts of the county.

County commissioners were told about the issue during their Thursday, June 16, briefing. The county’s current recycling contractor, Waste Industries, has agreed to serve out its contract, which runs out at year’s end, but will not be renewing it. County commissioners are considering recycling options for those who do not live in a city or town in Forsyth County.

Minor Barnette, director of Forsyth’s  environmental assistance and protection office, outlined the problem. Waste Management, the world’s largest waste management company, was the recycling contractor in 2012. It charged $2.65 a month per household but only had 13 percent participation. The 2,900 households weren’t enough for the company to make money and it discontinued the contract the next year.

After that, Waste Industries was the only bidder. It charged $8.65 and had 12 percent participation. Barnette said there were several problems, aside from low participation, like the distance trucks drive to collect, since the subscribing households are so far from each other. There’s also a problem in the recycling industry with a downturn in the price of commodities like plastic, cardboard and paper that makes it more difficult to turn a profit.

Barnette said he was still in discussions with Waste Industries to see if a way  can be found to keep its services. Without recycling pick-up, residents in non-incorporated areas would have to rely on county drop-off recycling centers near Lewisville, Kernersville and at the Hanes Mill Road landfill. These three centers can be a twenty minute drive for some residents, Barnette said.

County Commissioner Walter Marshall thought a mandatory recycling program with a required fee could be an option.

“I think the only way we’re going to solve that problem is to face it head on,” said Marshall.

County Commissioner Everette Witherspoon said if a voluntary fee program couldn’t work for a giant company like Waste Management, it’s going be hard to find any company it could work for. He also thought a mandatory program is the way to go.

“That’s the only way you can make this program stick,” said Witherspoon.

Other municipal governments often pay for recycling with a mandatory fee or with the regular property tax residents pay. According to Winston-Salem Recycle Today Director Dereck Owens, the city also utilizes Waste Management, which it pays $1.5 million to out of the general fund. The city also receives 33 percent of the revenue from the recyclables. There’s no fee or special tax city residents have to pay. He said Winston-Salem has 90 percent participation in its voluntary recycling program, which collects 1,000 tons of recyclables a month.

About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors