Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 26 February 2013 11:34
Marion County Commissioner Roger Fleming challenged the Hillsboro City Council during its Feb. 19 meeting to consider an idea for implementing single-stream recycling.
Fleming, a Hillsboro resident, shared the idea during the public-comment portion of the council meeting.
“I want to commend the city of Hillsboro for taking the initiative years ago to start recycling,” he said at the start. “I felt like (the city has) been a leader in recycling. However, we haven’t been a leader in taking it to the next level of single stream.”
Currently, local residents must sort their acceptable materials, then drop them off at a volunteer-run recycling center that is open two half-days a week.
Fleming said a curbside, single-stream approach would make it easier for residents to participate by not requiring them to sort and deliver their recyclables.
Instead, city trash trucks, which currently run weekly routes, could designate one or even two weeks per month to pick up recyclables instead of trash, then haul those materials to the county transfer station in Marion. There, inappropriate materials would be removed and the rest hauled to an area recycling company, which would pay the county to receive them.
Fleming said single-stream recycling also would broaden the kinds of materials that could be recycled, particularly in regard to plastics.
Currently, the local recycling center accepts only PETE 1 and HDPE 2 plastics. With single stream, Fleming said, about the only plastic-based items that could not be recycled would be plastic sacks and Styrofoam.
The overall effect, he said, would be significantly less waste hauled to landfills, which in turn would create financial savings for the county.
Fleming said hauling trash to Butler County costs the county the expense of a driver, fuel and tipping fees of $42.18 per ton.
“In 2012, we hauled 6,005 tons of trash to Butler County,” Fleming said.?“Of that, 891 tons were C&D (construction and demolition). We’re not going to get rid of that, but we are going to get rid of 5,000 tons (of recyclable materials) that we’re taking to the landfill, and divert them.
“We’re already on the road anyway,” he added. “We’re not going to cut out the (cost of the) fuel and driver, but if we can cut those tipping fees we can save a lot of money.”
Fleming illustrated the impact of single-stream recycling from his personal experience of living in Wichita.
“I could have my trash—if it wasn’t for the smell—picked up once a month, but I needed recycling picked up at least every other week. It made that much difference,” he said. “I can go a month and not fill a 33-gallon trash can.”
Fleming credited Rollin Schmidt, the county’s transfer station director, for envisioning “such a simple idea.” Schmidt had presented it earlier in the day at the county commission meeting.
“Can we make this work for our city to increase the amount of recyclables we can get rid of, and still make it easy and cost effective?” Fleming asked.
“I know it would take a lot of education to (help) the citizens to understand,” he added. “Hopefully, we can get more participation and get rid of some of our stuff that’s going to the landfill right now.”
The idea generated an enthusiastic response from Mayor Delores Dalke.
“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful idea, and I’m glad it came from one of your employees,” she said. “I think that’s great because it’s their idea rather than you coming up with and saying this is the way we’re going to do it.
“I’m glad you brought it up to us as something to think about,” she added. “There could be some really good things come out of this.”