Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

Supervisors, Prottsman want county rural residents to step up recycling

Aug 11, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Henry County supervisors are once again banging the drum, hoping rural residents heed the call and step up their recycling efforts.

“I want to let the public know, we are serious about recycling,” said board Chairman Marc Lindeen. “I also want to receive some public input (on recycling).”

Mike Prottsman, owner of Prottsman Sanitation, which is the county’s sanitation hauler, and Wade Hamm, general manager of the Great River Regional Waste Authority (GRRWA), which handles the county’s sanitation, visited with the supervisors during the board’s meeting Thursday morning.

County recycling has shown an increase, according to Hamm. In fiscal 2014, recyclables were at 67.06 tons; 78.24 tons of recyclables were received in fiscal 2015; 82.42 tons in fiscal 2016; and fiscal 2017 showed 92.76 tons.

However, Hamm, Prottsman and the supervisors feel county residents can do much more.

“The recycling program really needs to be pushed,” Prottsman stressed. “We have had good improvement, but it is not even close to what we can do. We have to change people’s attitudes to recycle more. I have had numerous comments (from rural residents) on how easy it is to recycle by using the central site.

Currently, recyclables are accepted at both the four satellite sites (Deerwood-New London, Trenton, Salem and Winfield) and also at the central site behind the Henry County Emergency Management Building in Mt. Pleasant.

Recyclables and other garbage is picked up once a week at each of the satellite sites while the central site is open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Recyclables have to be divided i.e. cardboard, plastics, tin and glass at the satellite sites and do not have to be divided at the central site.

There are two major reasons for the county wanting to step up recycling efforts. One is that landfills are running out of room and secondly, to stop illegal dumping. “People are dumping illegally,” noted Lindeen. The maximum fine for illegal dumping has been increased from $1,000 to $3,000, supervisors said.

Part of the problem in the recycling scenario is that as it stands now, Prottsman said it would be difficult to handle additional recycling, noting that there either would have to be changes at the satellite sites or central site. “If recycling increases at the rural sites, I won’t be able to handle it. The (recycling) baskets are full each day at the sites.”

Hamm said going exclusively to a countywide central location will provide more services to the county residents at one location. Some of those services could include tire disposal, e-waste disposal and appliance disposal — services which are not provided at each of the rural sites.

“Also, being a one-stop shop on an impervious area (asphalt or concrete) will reduce the number of areas that have the potential to have a negative impact on the environment with issues such as water runoff, containing oils from vehicles and any liquids that residents can throw away,” Hamm said.

GRRWA has 30-gallon reusable recycling tote bags which could be used free of charge by county residents. The collapsible bags can easily be stored after use and also are washable.

Prottsman said he has access to 2,000 totes and could get more if needed. He said his plans include giving two bags to each rural household in the county.

“Increasing and really pushing people to recycle will lead to increase tonnage in recycling and lower tonnage going to the landfill,” Hamm commented. “In return, it will add to more airspace remaining in the landfill for future waste management.”

The Deerwood or New London satellite site is the most used site. During the period between June 5 and August 7, between 156 and 202 participants visited the site. The other three sites have similar usage, ranging from 74 per week to 125.

Lindeen said he is open to any suggestions from the public. “We have to know what this program will do for us and if we need to change something.”

The supervisor chair told Prottsman it is his decision when he wants to distribute the totes. “If I could give them out, I would,” he responded.

No decisions were made at Thursday’s meeting as the supervisors are seeking public input before making any changes to the sanitation/recycling program.

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