County is now considering mandatory recycling

County is now considering mandatory recycling
January 12
07:00 2017



When the county ended its recycling collection service for residents in unincorporated areas of Forsyth County, it resulted in many calls from unhappy former customers.

The county started offering voluntary curbside recycling service for a monthly fee to unincorporated residents in 2012. Due to low participation and a downturn in the commodities market, recycling contractors couldn’t provide the service without a loss.

After a second company decided not to renew its contract, the county ended the service on Jan. 1.

The county deregulated the service in hopes that private companies would come in and negotiate with housing developments in incorporated areas to provide recycling services.

This has not happened yet, leaving 2,600 former customers without the service.

“All the 150 plus people who have called are disappointed the service is ending,” Minor Barnette, director of Forsyth’s environmental assistance and protection office, told commissioners during a Jan. 5 briefing.

Barnette said that the calls were 10 minutes on average because residents wanted to make sure the county knew how important recycling is. Some said they were willing to pay more to see the service continue.

Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt said some were also upset because they didn’t know the service was ending until their collection bins were taken. A notice  about the service’s end was on the final bill, but many costumers didn’t read it.

Three companies have expressed interest in getting permits to provide the service, but only one, North Davidson Garbage Service, has indicated definite plans to offer service, which would be in the southwest corner of the county near Clemmons.

County commissioners were concerned that if the recyclables aren’t picked up, residents may simply throw them away, or worse, resort to dumping, instead of traveling to the county’s three recycling centers to properly recycle them.

“You’re going to fill up the landfill with recyclables if we don’t do something,” said County Commissioner Chair Dave Plyler.

During the discussion, Barrette said that if the county made recycling collection a mandatory program, combined with garbage service, he believed he could find a contractor interested in servicing the 22,000 unincorporated households and negotiate the price down to $16 or less per household.

The low cost intrigued commissioners . Commissioner Richard Linville said he wasn’t committing to support a mandatory program, but it was worth exploring for that price. Plyler told Barnette to explore the mandatory option and come back to the commissioners with a report.

Commissioners Everette Witherspoon and Walter Marshall were the sole “no” votes on de-regulating recycling collection last year, because both believe it should be a mandatory service.

“There is no other solution,” said Marshall.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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