*Feature Photo: Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Supervisor Andy Frey told the Riverton City Council no decisions have been made at this point, but he said the recycling program through the District could end July 1st or January 1st. (Pitchengine Communities) * (Riverton, Wyo.) - The numbers just don't add up, was the message to the Riverton City Council Tuesday night from Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Superintendent Andy Frey on the current recycling program
"Fourteen percent of our budget is spent on five percent of the waste
stream," he said. "The diversion rate is not that impressive, it's very
low." Frey said the Solid Waste District spends $600,000 a year on the
recycling program and he noted that each time a load of recycling leaves
the county to Salt Lake City, the costs of freight and baling exceeds the
profit by $500 to $1,000 a load. "I'm not aware of any recycling program
anywhere that creates a profit," he said.
If that five percent of recycling went across the scales, it would only
produce $129,000 in revenue. "If we bury the recycled materials in the
landfill, it would save us money."
Frey noted that the revenue from its mill levy that funds much of the
district's operations will decrease this coming fiscal year by nearly
$1-million. For that reason, he said his board was looking at options for
the recycling program.
Frey said the district is facing mandated closure and post-closure costs
within the next decade for its current landfills of an estimated
$15-million. He said the districts needs to be as efficient as possible to
save that kind of money for when it is required.
He also acknowledged that all but hazardous recyclables is now being
landfilled through people's trash. "We're landfilling 95 percent of it,
there is very little that is being diverted," Frey said. "We're spending a
large amount of money for something used by very few people."
Frey did acknowledge that the people who recycle are passionate about it,
but there just aren't enough of them.
Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver said only 20 percent of
Riverton's trash customers use the recycling bins, for which they receive a
discount on their monthly bills.
"What the data shows is that we haven't helped the environment a great
deal," said Mayor Lars Baker. "If we do a carbon footprint audit, it would
show we are better off just burying it in the landfill. My suggestion is
that people refuse to buy products in the store that are heavily packaged
in cardboard and plastic," he said. My preference would be to look into a
private opportunity to recycling. That would leave the door open for us to
participate at some level.