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Summit County Landfill Superintendent Discusses Plastic Bags

As we’ve reported, the Summit County Council recently met to discuss a ban on single-use plastic bags, and they got a briefing from their Landfill Superintendent, Tim Loveday, about the complexities of the issue.

But he told KPCW he wasn’t trying to discourage a possible ban.

Loveday explained that he’s somebody who just goes by the data. He said there’s a lot of misinformation, for and against the plastic bags. But as a landfill manager, he doesn’t like them.

“Plastic bags are an absolute pain,” Loveday said. “I wish people didn’t use them. I try not to use them myself. Just last week, I was at Subway, and I asked them not to put it in a plastic bag, just hand me the sandwich, I don’t need that extra plastic bag. And they looked at me like I was crazy. But y’know, that’s one more bag that doesn’t go to the landfill. On a volume basis, they take up about a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube of space in that landfill each year, which is basically nothing.”

His No. 1 priority is diverting trash from the landfill, and Loveday said that paper takes up more space than plastic bags.

“From the studies I’m seeing, we’re seeing more success over charging for a plastic bag, than by banning them outright,” Loveday continued. “And that changes the motivation of people to where they not only do a better job with their plastic bags, but they start thinking about the environmental consequences of things they do across the board.”

He said a group of local school students did a fine job bringing the topic to the forefront.

“I know they left that Council meeting kind of feeling defeated,” Loveday explained. “But they need to know they actually did a very, very good job because we’re talking about it. And that’s what we really need to do. If we’re going to change the way we recycle and do a better job of protecting the environment, it starts with a conversation.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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