Recycled materials are not shipped to a landfill, Solid Waste District says

*Feature Photo: A customer dropped off recycling Wednesday at the Lander Landfill Free Recycling Center. (Pitchengine Communities) * (Lander, Wyo.) - The Supervisor of the Fremont County Solid Waste District said the information distributed at Tuesday night's Riverton City Council meeting was not the whole story. City Council member Kyle Larson said the district was getting ready to end most recycling and he said recycled materials that are collected are taken to an out of state landfill. "There have been no decisions made, a sub-committee of District Trustees has made a recommendation to reduce the recycling program, but we are continuing to look at the issue," said Andy Frey. "We are developing a plan and we recognize the need to work with our stakeholders, including the trash haulers, the municipalities, and Community Entry Services. We need to give them time to plan." Frey, however, was emphatic that none of the collected recyclables are taken to landfills. "We are not shipping anything to another landfill. We ship our plastics to Salt Lake City, our paper and cardboard goes to the West Coast to paper plants and the tin and aluminum is baled and sold with pickup at our bale stations in Lander and Riverton," he said. The only exceptions to that rule, he said, are recyclables that are contaminated with hazardous materials or garbage and those are not sorted, but taken to the local landfills. "We sort the plastics and put a lot of time and effort into that. We bale them and hire a truck to take them to Salt Lake City. I guarantee you that we would not go to that trouble if the plastic was headed to a landfill," Frey said. Unfortunately, Frey said some people dump their personal garbage into the recycle bins and that contaminates the goods. Frey said another concern that the District is facing is the Community Entry Services personnel who now sort the recycled materials. "The Federal Government has ruled that CES cannot pay sub-minimum wages to their clients for this work. They will have to pay the Federal Minimum Wage, and that creates a big financial concern for them," he said. "Can we do what we do now if CES has to back out, well, we'd need to add three full-time employees to pick up the slack." Frey said the recommendation from the sub-committee was made as "a potential recycling plan." Under that plan, a modified recycling program would be continued that would collect hazardous materials and metal materials, to keep those hazardous materials out of the landfills. Frey said Aluminum, tin, scrap metals, used motor oil, used antifreeze, lead acid batteries, oil-based paints and electronic waste would still be collected. Plastics, paper, cardboard and glass would no longer be collected under that plan. "But no decisions have been made yet," he emphasized. Frey said the recycling program represents 14 percent of the district's total budget but only five percent of everything that comes in recycled. "The current program creates an expense to the District over $500,000 annually." #county10 #news