County commissioners consider fate of recycling

County commissioners consider fate of recycling
September 08
07:30 2016

Eliminating county recycling collection and making it mandatory among options discussed



Will Forsyth County’s household recycling collection end or could it become a mandatory service? Those two very different options were discussed by county commissioners during their Thursday, Sept. 1 briefing.

The county offers voluntary recycling collection service in the unincorporated parts of Forsyth for a fee. Its current recycling collector, Waste Industries, is not renewing its contract, which will run out at year’s end. It’s the second recycling provider to not renew. Low participation and a downturn in commodities have made it hard for these companies to make money.

Minor Barnette, director of Forsyth’s Environmental Assistance and Protection Office, looked into the possibility of combining recycling with its more popular voluntary garbage collection service for one fee. Of the 22,000 houses in unincorporated areas, 13,000 use the garbage service but only 2,600 subscribe for recycling. However, Barnette said that he felt the combined price was too high and might cause the services to lose subscribers.

“I’m worried it’ll drive people away from using garbage service if we combine recycling and garbage together and the cost is more than they’re willing to pay for both,” he told commissioners.

Barnette said he wanted to look into the possibility of ending county awarded recycling franchises and deregulating the service. This would allow recycling collection companies to negotiate fees with sub-divisions that they would provide service to. The county would still require the service providers to have a license or permit to make sure the recyclables were being collected and delivered properly.

This would leave some households, particularly those not in subdivisions, without service and would require those residents to take the recyclables to collection centers themselves.

County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt sup-ported exploring that idea. Others voiced different opinions.

County Commissioner Walter Marshall repeated his support of mandatory recycling paid for with taxes, similar to what the City of Winston-Salem does.

“The environmental health of the county is worth us taxing to pay for it,” said Marshall.

County Commissioners Dave Plyler and Everette Witherspoon were also interested in mandatory recycling. Plyler said he’d had constituents tell him they’d be willing to pay what it took for recycling collection.

Witherspoon said that this is an issue they’ve been dealing with for years and it’s time for the commissioners to finally solve it with mandatory collection. He said it should also help with the county’s problem with people illegally dumping garbage and recyclables.

“If you have a recycling bin in every yard, it disincentives them to dump,” said Witherspoon.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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