What’s the future of county garbage and recycling

What’s the future of county garbage and recycling
September 21
04:00 2017

Forsyth County is considering its future options for curbside garbage and recycling pickup.

As the county’s curbside garbage contracts expire at the end of 2018, options are being considered for the future of the program and county recycling.

The county’s curbside subscription recycling service to households in unincorporated areas of Forsyth ended this year after haulers lost money on it due to low participation.

County commissioners were considering universal recycling in unincorporated areas, but staff found that state statute was dubious on if the county had the power to charge those households for the service. Changing that would require a local act by the N.C. General Assembly, which hasn’t happened yet.

With legislative action uncertain, the hopes of universal garbage and recycling service is up in the air.  Universal service has been touted by many as a way to help the county’s problem with residents illegally dumping garbage.

Minor Barnette, director of Forsyth’s environmental assistance and protection office, presented commissioners with other options during their meeting last week. One was maintaining the status quo with no curbside recycling and haulers servicing different parts of the county. For garbage pickup, ABC Garbage Service currently serves 650 households, Rural Garbage Service serves 7,821 and Waste Management serves 5,605.

“Overall we have about a 54 percent participation rate for garbage service, which leaves us with about 12,000 households who are not choosing to use the service,” said Barnette.

Status quo would require those residents to continue to drop off recyclables at one of three recycling centers. Commissioners Gloria Whisenhunt and Everett Witherspoon said they’d like to explore having more recycling centers.

Another idea for the garbage subscription service was the possibility of one service provider for all incorporated areas.

Barnette said he recommended considering two other options. One was combining garbage and recycling pick-up into one optional subscription service. The other was having nonexclusive franchises for the unincorporated areas to give households a choice of service providers while still giving the county the ability to regulate the haulers.

Witherspoon said that the only solution that’ll work is a universal service.

County staff plan to work on the options and come back with plans for commissioners to choose from in November. Any changes in garbage service wouldn’t go into effect until 2019.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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