Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts

Friday, May 27, 2011

Worcester Commissioner Seeks Mandatory Recycling

Written By: The Dispatch Staff, Travis Brown

SNOW HILL -- There’s a chance that Worcester County could make recycling mandatory as soon as next year, assuming public opinion is behind the change.

“This is something that has to be done,” said Commissioner Louise Gulyas, who was the most vocal supporter of making recycling in the county mandatory at a budget meeting this week.  “We should either be in it, or out of it. We don’t do real recycling.”

Jennifer Savage, the Enterprise Fund Controller of Worcester, agreed.

“We’re in a middle ground,” she admitted.

Commissioner Judy Boggs worried about the cost of such a big step, especially given the recession. She wondered how the county could afford to switch to full recycling if the price of recycled materials was down.

However, she learned that the value of raw materials produced by recycling had actually risen in the last few years, the opposite of what she expected.

“Everybody produces trash,” said Commissioner Virgil Shockley, who added that it was everyone’s responsibility to keep things clean.

Whether or not that meant mandatory recycling though, he wasn’t sure.

“I think we should go full force into recycling,” said Gulyas. “If we’re going to do it, do it and do it right.”

According to Shockley, Worcester currently recycles about 20 percent of its waste. The cost to move that to 100 percent isn’t definitive at this point, but he guessed it would mean an extra $15-$20 added to resident property tax bills.

Gulyas was optimistic that fee would be received well by resident, stating that people would be “thrilled to death” to pay the extra money to make the county more environmentally friendly.

Shockley was less sure people would be willing to take the hit, especially with many households already in trouble financially. He did admit that something had to be done. He just wasn’t sure if residents would accept an additional fee.

Boggs expressed similar reservations. She pointed out that a recycling pilot project had been attempted about six years ago in West Ocean City.

“We lost our shirts on it,” she said.

While she echoed Shockley that something had to be done, she stressed that it had to be economically feasible. Boggs stated that she would support any recycling program as long as it “breaks even.”

Savage mentioned a “pay as you throw” trash policy that other areas were using. Instead of paying a flat fee for a dumping permit, residents would be charged by how much trash they deposit at landfills and transfer stations. Both Boggs and Shockley expressed interest in the idea.

“I would not be opposed to looking into that,” said Boggs of the idea. “It does encourage people to recycle.”

“We have the option to handle recycling better,” concluded Gulyas.

Gulyas admitted that it wouldn’t be cheap, but was confident that the returns would more than justified the expense. Gulyas mentioned that many residents of Ocean City were upset when the city chose to cancel its curbside recycling, some to a degree that they now go out of their way to deposit their recyclables at other locations. In her opinion, people in the county want recycling and see it as their duty to preserve the waterways and the forests for future generations.

While no consensus was reached, Shockley explained that a general outline of what could be done with recycling in Worcester had been formed. He said nothing else can be decided until a public hearing is held on the issue in June, where he hopes the commissioners will get enough public input to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saving Accomack County Money Is A "Good Thing"


ONANCOCK -- For the first time on the Eastern Shore, citizens have the option of recycling unwanted mail right in the post office lobby. This convenience is due to the thought, time, and efforts of Onancock Postmaster April Hart and Sales Associate Cathy Dawson.

Onancock will be saving the whole county money by keeping mail out of the landfill. For every ton of catalogs, ads, and unwanted mail and paper that gets recycled, citizens save $46. Paper and mail are heavy, and at the post office, it adds up quickly. Just ask Waste Watcher volunteer, Charlie O'Neill, who has been picking up and carting recyclable plastic and non-identifying mail to the convenience centers for the last month.

Hart has long been concerned about the amount of paper that customers threw away rather than recycled. Waste Watchers of the Eastern Shore, a community group that promotes responsible disposal of waste, was worried too. Many people come to the post office, open their mail boxes and sort through it right there in the lobby. Catalogues, unwanted advertising and empty envelopes go straight into the waste basket and from there -- needlessly and expensively --to the landfill.

Last month, Waste Watchers provided the post office with a recycling bin and a weekly pickup service to recycle rather than toss all that paper. Just as Onancock Post Office and Waste Watchers were ready to start the process, Hart learned that recycling of mail by citizens was not allowed because of the possibility of identity theft.

However, USPS does have a recycling system in place called "Read, Respond, and Recycle Your Mail." This program puts locked recycling bins in post office lobbies so people can responsibly dispose of unwanted paper. It has a thin opening to discourage garbage or anything other than paper being added.

After some investigation by both Waste Watchers and Hart, it was discovered that many post offices throughout Virginia enjoyed this service but as so often happens, there was not one on the Eastern Shore. That's when Hart went into action. Figuring there were districts that had more than they needed, she put word out that Onancock wanted just one if anyone had a spare. And after only four weeks, a bin showed up, and Onancock postal customers are happily recycling and saving themselves money.

Jenny O'Neill, of Waste Watchers, said, "The actions of these two civil servants have made a positive difference. Without their focus and efforts, this wouldn't have happened. Next time you go to the Post Office, make sure you thank them." Onancock can now add another green feather to its cap.

I'm going to be keeping an eye out for one of these at the two post offices I use in my area. This is a great start for Accomack County. If you asked me I'd tell you that Accomack County has been a little "slow" on getting with the recycle programs. Those metal cans and plastics (with the exception of plastic bottles) are still going to the landfill. Thankyou April Hart and Cathy Dawson!!