Recycling efforts moving forward but at a snail's pace

  • Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Williamsburg County's recycling efforts are continuing to expand. According to Williamsburg County Councilwoman Jeannie Brown-Burrows during a recent council meeting, the Recycling Advisory Board has been meeting and strategies are coming together. "We are upgrading and separating our plastic, cans, cardboard," said Brown-Burrows who leads the advisory board. "Hopefully, in the future we won't have to haul as much garbage out."   The Recycling Advisory Board was established in May 2012. The members are charged with developing sustainable, viable ways to recycle local materials. Since its inception, committee members have visited recycling centers outside the county and have created tools meant to educate. More importantly, the board is looking into ways to cut the waste hauled thereby reducing that expense, and find new outlets to sell the materials which in turn will help the finances of the county.   In order to meet their goals, they need specific information. The group was presented with a revenue report during their most recent meeting. According to the report, from July 2012 to June 2013, total revenues from recyclables were $22,358. Of that recycled paper brought in $5,071. Scrap metal totaled $16,963 and e-waste totaled $323.24. The revenues; however, did not compare to the 2011-2012 revenue report for paper which brought in $10,473.   In addition, ccrap metal totaled $36,783. Director of Finance and Administration Walt Ackerman could not provide a definative answer; however, he believed the spike was attributed to the Capital Improvments that were going on at that time. Ackerman, who was hired in June, 2012 said based on nearly at $15,000 in revenues through October 2013, they are on pace to hit $40,000.   Ackerman said things are progressing. He has met with full-time employees who work at the landfill and is checking into training that will address current issues. One example Ackerman said was citizens are placing non-cardboard materials such as stiff paper in the cardboard bins. "Our people have to sort that," said Ackerman. "You'll have some sights where 50 percent of it is deemed trash...For the general public, they think its cardboard. So we have to train the attendands a little better so they can monitor a little better what they are putting in...When you have three cans of cardboard and you get two cans of trash out of it, it's not condusive to having an effecient operation." The committee has requested a separate line item for plastic so they can keep track of any progress. The reason plastic does not have its own line item said Ackerman, is because the county sells both paper and plastic to Synoco. The finanance department is working on that.    Councilwoman Burrows and Recyling Coordinator Yolanda Green plan to meet with school district administration to discuss placing cardboard bins at schools however, they will have to come up with ways to purchase the bins. The group also will reach out to local businesses for support and will research the engagement of inmates.   The committee seem to be poised on following through with the next step. "In January we're going to start with the new year, we're going to start with a new attitude," said Burrows adding. "I want to let citizens know, and educate them, that if they do this, over a period of time we can make this happen like other counties are doing."   Whether or not the county makes money off of recyling is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to keep as much material out of the landfill. "You don't recycle becasue you're trying to make money," said Ackerman. "You recycle because you want to be green, you want to be good to the enviroment. Becasue its the right thing to do. You don't want to leave a burden for future genreations to deal with."

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