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Summit County Council Members Consider Future For Trash, Recycling

Summit County Council 2019

At their meeting this week, Summit County Council Members gave some direction for the future of trash collection.    They also discussed how to make the future of recycling better.

At Council’s meeting on Wednesday, the staff’s Curbside Feasibility Study did not recommend that the county go to an in-house garbage system, due to the costs and need for additional staffing.

County Council member Kim Carson said she thinks Council is supportive of going to a new contract with a private entity.  

“I think there’s going to be a lot more discussion around what goes into that contract.   How can we beef it up to strengthen the services that our residents are receiving.”

The Council also talked about the problems that occur with curbside recycling—such as the fact that recycling bins put out for the truck often have contaminated material.     

“So we really want to drill in on that.   And how can we maybe streamline what we accept, so it’s easier for our residents and our visitors and our businesses to recycle.   And then we would achieve a higher percentage of clean recyclable goods, rather than having contaminated loads being dumped in the landfill.”

County Landfill Superintendent Tim Loveday has reported that over one-third of the curbside recycling material is contaminated.    Carson said that’s unacceptable to have  the whole load  headed for the garbage dump.      

“If you have contamination within a load, they have to dump the entire load.   They don’t sit and sort it out.   If they see contamination in there, they dump it.   And so we’re hearing that about 37 percent of what we’re sending down to the recycling sorter is bring dumped in the landfill.”

Getting information out about what materials can be recycled is also difficult—because the rules are always changing.       

“The problem is if you have it printed on the cans, and it changes.  It’s a very volatile industry.  One day, they can accept a certain range of plastics, and then they may come back and say, “Okay, we don’t have the market for that anymore, so we’re not going to accept it.”  So in that case, you don’t  want it necessarily to be permanently affixed to the trash can, what they can and can’t take.  So we’ve got to  look at a communication plan—first, look at what we wanna try to really focus on and tackle, and then how do we best communicate that to our residents, and visitors and businesses.”

Summit County Council Member Kim Carson.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.