Trash haulers worried at prospect of mandatory recycling

November 04, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Local trash haulers, worried about an ordinance that would allow the county commissioners to make recycling mandatory, aired their concerns yesterday at a workshop on the proposal.

County officials, including County Attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr., Public Works Director Keith Kirschnick and Recycling Manager Vinnie Legge, were on hand to answer questions.

Proposed by the commissioners in August, the ordinance would give them the authority to enact a mandatory recycling program if the county's recycling rate drops too low. Currently, the county has a voluntary curbside recycling program.

Under a mandatory recycling program, it would be illegal to dump recyclables in the county landfill. Haulers would be required to separate recyclables from other waste and provide containers for recycling.

Violators would be subject to fines.

The haulers at the workshop said that if the county adopted a mandatory recycling program, they would be held accountable if procedures weren't followed and recyclables ended up in the landfills.

"It sounds to me like you're putting the burden on the haulers," said an employee with Hughes Trash Removal, who didn't want to be named.

"I have trouble enough without having to go through people's trash. It's a dirty job," she said.

Mr. Thompson said that if recyclables were being disposed of illegally, county officials would have to determine whether the hauler or the customer was responsible.

"We don't see holding the hauler accountable if you've done everything in your power to get the customer to recycle," he said. "We believe the problem is going to be with the public accepting the need to recycle, rather than the haulers being willing to do it."

Sandy Gover, of S & B Hauling Inc., said that she's concerned about the cost of providing all customers with containers for recycling.

She also said she would have to get new trucks equipped to hold recycling bins.

Ms. Legge, the county's recycling manager, said that the county now recycles 20 percent of its waste. Under state law, the county is required to recycle 15 percent of its trash by 1994.

But state environment officials are considering raising the recycling rate to 50 percent by 2000, she said.

"Even though we're meeting our mandates now, mandatory recycling is not unrealistic," Ms. Legge said.

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