Recycling Decision Delayed until May; Solutions being sought

*Feature Photo: Community Entry Services CEO Shawn Griffin explained his firm's role in recycling to the packed meeting room Monday morning. (Pitchengine Communities) * (Lander, Wyo.) - There was no disagreement Monday morning that recycling is important, both from the perspective of the Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Board and the 50 or so members of the public who showed up to support recycling. The issue, however, was not the idea of recycling, but instead the cost. As currently constituted, the recycling program in the county is losing money, big money, losses the district said it cannot sustain. As a result, a reduction in what materials could be accepted for recycling has been proposed. For about two hours, a dozen or more of the standing-room-only crowd gave their opinions on the value of the current program, but solutions were few and far between. Several suggested fees be charged for accepting recycling. Here's what we know: • The FCSWDD recycling program costs $600,000 a year, or 14 percent of its overall budget. Of the entire trash stream, recycled materials represent only 5 percent. That means the district is spending 14 percent of its budget to manage only 5 percent of the stream. • The district has proposed to eliminate recycling for paper, plastic, cardboard and glass as they pose no environmental hazards to the landfill. The district will continue to accept used motor oil, antifreeze, car batteries, electronic waste and all items that they do not want in the landfill due to their toxic content. They will also continue to accept aluminum, tin, and metal. • The city of Riverton's curbside recycling program is used by only 20 percent of the residents there, who receive a discount on their water and sanitation bills for recycling. The incentive program costs the city about $50,000 per year, not counting the equipment and personnel needed to operate the system. Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver said 60 to 70 percent of all the recycling in the county is generated in Riverton. • Any decision on the change to the recycling program has been put off until the FCSWDD's May meeting. • Public input on solutions is welcome between now and then. The cities of Lander and Riverton have offered their city halls for public information/education meetings on the issue. • Community Entry Services will make a decision in the next six months whether they can continue their participation in the current program for sorting the recyclables. CEO Shawn Griffin said his organization, a private entity, has been in the red for three of the last four years and has not been able to give its 200 employees any raises in that time. "We have to find a way to make it work," he said. • The vast majority of county residents are not invested in recycling. Recycle bins are frequently filled with household garbage and not materials for recycling. #county10 #news