Editorial: Fees could discourage abuse of recycling programs
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. So simple in theory, so difficult in practice.
The third part of that triangle - recycling - has had its ups and downs in this area over the past few years. New attempts are being made to bring it back.
In Cabell County, the program has been revamped and is nearing capacity. People still have time to get access to the recycling drop-off site in Huntington, but they need to act quickly because it’s almost at full capacity. Registrations for the drop-off site in Barboursville are now closed after filling up in November.
The Cabell County Solid Waste Authority is still taking registrations for key-fob access at the Huntington site at www.CCSWA.us. There’s a one-time fee of $5 for county residents, and non-county residents are required to pay $50 annually.
The low cost to recycle is part of a plan revamping the program thanks to a $100,000 commitment by Cabell County commissioners from the county’s economic development levy fund. Before the funding, fees were raised to $75 for everyone to get access to one of the sites.
The recycling site in Huntington, located at 800 Virginia Ave., is serving nearly 1,200 households, which is nearing full capacity. Recycling bins at the site went from nine bins earlier this year to 15 bins currently.
Barboursville’s recycling site, located at 536 Depot St., is serving approximately 600 households and cannot accept more. A site in Milton accepts material once a week for transport to Huntington.
Meanwhile, the city of Ashland will open its recycling bins for residents outside Ashland for $100 per year starting Jan. 1, said Mayor Steve Gilmore.
Ashland residents will still be able to use the recycling bins beneath the two bridges to Ohio at no extra charge. City residents already pay a monthly $22 fee for garbage fees. Residents in Ohio and West Virginia can participate in the change approved recently by the Ashland Board of City Commissioners.
“It’s a nationwide problem,” Gilmore said. “No one makes money on recycling. It’s a costly endeavor. While some people don’t care about recycling, others do. We need to make it convenient for them. We’re trying to do the right thing.”
Several years ago, the city had recycling bins near Ashland Community and Technical College and at the Walmart.
“People would leave TV sets, couches and chairs. We had a large number of people from Ohio and from Huntington,” Gilmore said. The city subsequently moved its recycling bins to downtown Ashland in a fenced-in area beneath the two bridges.
While Lawrence County currently is without its recycling program, it will be back open again starting Jan. 2, but not at the Sam’s and Walmart in Burlington, Ohio, a popular site for both in- and out-of-state recyclers to use.
Recycling is not an easy business. It has come and gone in this area over the past 30 years at least.
And let’s face it, too many people abused the system or else they didn’t care that they filled boxes with too much material that was not recyclable. Boxes meant for plastic food containers were used as dumps for PVC pipe. Boxes meant for glass beverage bottles sometimes had window glass in them. Window glass can contain lead, which recyclers do not want. As Gilmore noted, people use recycling locations to dump just about any unwanted material. And too many people dumped their waste on the ground instead of putting it in bins.
Perhaps these latest attempts will succeed. The area needs a workable program that reduces the amount of waste buried in landfills. Charging a fee for the service should weed out people who want the service from those who would abuse it. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how the world works.