Cave City will officially end its recycling program, effective March 1.
Following in the footsteps of other area recycling programs – such as Warren County, whose recycling provider will end curbside services March 31 due to a loss of $30,000 a month – Cave City’s Director of Public Works Robert Smith said the Barren County city has reached a point “where there is no market for recyclables right now.”
“We tie up one employee, a truck and a trailer for about six hours every Tuesday,” Smith said. “We have an average of between 15 to 20 customers and part of those are outside of the city limits. … About eight of those are in the county.”
Like Allen County, which discontinued its acceptance of plastic recyclables after a fiscal court meeting in January due to the material ending up in a landfill, Smith said the materials collected in Cave City were also ending up in a landfill.
“Lakeside Recycling is still taking a little bit of cardboard, but not all the time,” Smith said. “Aluminum cans, most people save them themselves or they have someone they give them to, so we don’t get much of that. And we have a few businesses we pick up cardboard from. It has become a dollar issue.”
Smith said the city was losing “$1,000 a month at least.”
“We hope in the future to be able to start it back and possibly start a route,” Smith said. “We have a few elderly people that really like the recycling. Hopefully the economy will pan out and the trade issues will get resolved. I’m all for recycling, but numerous surrounding areas are going in the hole and they are suspending their programs right now.”
Stan Reagan – the environmental planning and assistance coordinator for Warren County who sent the recommendation to Warren Fiscal Court to make changes to the Warren County recycling program – said curbside service is still set to end as scheduled.
For now, Warren County residents can take recyclables to Southern Recycling’s main office, 63 Graham St.
“They will have the drop-off bins there that they can drop things in until July 31,” Reagan said. “Hopefully, by Aug. 1, which is when all of our solid waste and recycling franchises were scheduled to be replaced anyway, hopefully we will have something different there that they can use.”
Reagan said disposing of the collected material was the issue, not the actual collection.
“Nobody is making stuff out of this material anymore,” he said. “There is a bunch of materials also that keep getting contaminated because people don’t know how to recycle.”
There are other ways to cut down on the use of recyclable materials that could potentially eliminate the need for them altogether, according to Reagan.
“The first thing anybody should do to help with recycling is to refuse, not reuse,” he said. “When they go to the store, you don’t buy something that has been encapsulated in cardboard and plastic and you don’t buy bottled water. It won’t do anything for what is already out there, but eventually it could make a difference.”
Reagan said possible solutions to Warren County’s recycling needs are still being discussed, but no concrete ideas are readily available.
“It could be another curbside service, a combination of some kind or nothing at all,” Reagan said.