Leaders in Logan and Allen counties discussed their local recycling programs in fiscal court meetings Tuesday, with Logan County renewing a solid waste collection contract with Scott Waste Services LLC to continue a recycling program for the next five years.
This renewal – which calls for one week each month when recycling is collected instead of garbage – did not come without concerns from Logan County Magistrates Thomas Bouldin and Tyler Davenport, who spoke about the cost of recycling in Logan County.
“When we went to our constituents and asked them about starting a recycling program, we never thought this would be a for-profit endeavour,” Bouldin said. “We did it on the basis that it took the product out of the waste stream that is not waste. … The community bought into that and they are expecting this program. Logan County wants to recycle. We don’t want to go back to the days to throwing everything in a landfill.”
“I don’t want to stop recycling, I think it’s a good thing,” Davenport said. “My family does. … We should do our due diligence to look at all options because the cost is concerning. There may be some options where we can continue to recycle. I think it would be good to know all the options.”
Pete Reckard, district manager for Scott Waste Services, spoke to magistrates about their options, saying the choice was up to the magistrates to make if they wanted to change what the waste service does in the county.
“They want to be good stewards and continue the program,” he said. “When we bid the program, they had asked us for different types of products. One was to have no recycling. One was the way we are doing it now, with one week of recycling and no trash. Once a month of recycling pickup and four weeks of trash, and I think we did every other week recycling pickup but still had four weeks of trash pickup.”
Reckard said further negotiations could still happen should fiscal court decide to change service plans.
Logan County Solid Waste Coordinator Nathan Cockrill said the experience with Scott Waste Services has been fine since the service agreement began in 2015.
“There may be some further discussions and we all may be talking about doing some things differently,” Cockrill said. “I sympathize with people who lose that week of trash service, but right now it is the only economically feasible way to recycle.”
Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said he does not want to discontinue the recycling program.
“I just want to look at better ways where we can (allocate) some of our money,” said Chick. “I don’t know what those options are right now. We have talked to a few more recycler businesses. I think the majority wants to keep the recycling program going. We have to take into consideration our children and grandchildren and think about what kind of world we would leave them.”
Meanwhile, in Allen County, magistrates unanimously agreed to suspend plastic recycling.
“Since I have taken office a year ago, plastics have become next to impossible to get rid of,” Allen County Judge-Executive Dennis Harper said. “The main reason for this is we don’t want our citizens to think they are doing something good for the environment and the plastic ending up in the compactor and into the landfill. At this point we will suspend taking plastics until we can find a source to take those plastics from us.”
Harper said options have not been presented, but sources are being sought.
These recycling decisions come on the heels of Warren County’s recycling program ending curbside service in March. Southern Recycling has a contract until the end of the fiscal year to provide recycling pickup in Warren County, but the company is ending its curbside pickup early because the decline in the market for recyclables has the company losing about $30,000 per month.
Warren County residents, including in Bowling Green, currently pay $2.65 a month for recycling. To fully fund the service, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said customers would probably have to pay $12 to $18 a month. He said that increase would be more than the average resident would want to pay. He said the county is actively “looking for alternatives” for recycling in the county.
Both the Logan and Allen county recycling programs are services offered through the county and do not charge the citizens directly, according to county leaders.