Pinedale Recycling Board hears citizen comments about recycling
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
August 19, 2009
Approximately 50 people came to a public meeting held by the Pinedale Recycling Board to hear comments about the impending closure of the Pinedale recycling center due to budget issues. The center has funds to operate the center for approximately three more months. The future beyond that point is uncertain.
The two county recycling centers operate via a joint powers board agreement with the Sublette County Commissioners and the towns of Pinedale, Big Piney and Marbleton. Ninety percent of the Pinedale Recycling Centerís funding comes from Sublette County Commissioners. Two percent comes from the Town of Pinedale and the other portion comes from contributions and the sale of their recycled commodities.
The cost to put waste into the Sublette County landfill is $30 to $45 per ton. The cost to recycle at the Pinedale Recycling Center is $500 per ton and $1,000 per ton at the Marbleton Recycling Center. The Commissioners have been subsidizing the cost of running the two recycling centers for twelve years. With tax revenues declining, this year the Commissioners allocated $62,000 to the two recycling centers. Of that, Pinedale Recycling was given $43,200, and Big Piney/Marbleton got $18,800. At the recent budget meeting in July, the commissioners expressed regret at cutting funding, but said that the subsidies to recycle were five to ten times the cost of putting things in the landfill. They encouraged the Pinedale Recycling Center board to explore options and come back to the commission with any suggestions of ways to keep the centers running.
Twenty people gave public comments to the Pinedale Recycling board Wednesday evening. All of the comments were from people in favor of recycling and urging the Board to try and find a way to keep the center operational. Most expressed a strong dedication to the cause and were willing to drive additional miles and go to extra effort, and even cost, to get their recyclables to a center instead of seeing it go into a landfill.
One person expressed concern that if the recycling centers close, some people may start burning their garbage which might release toxins into the air.
Monte Skinner, a former Sublette County Commissioner, supports recycling and said it is great to keep recyclables out of the landfill, but he doubted it would ever pay for itself. He said the storage requirements and low dollar return on cardboard in particular were not economical.
Suggestions for trying to solve the economic issues included streamlining the present operations, using more volunteers, doing additional fundraising, creating some kind of a local "cottage industry" out of the recycled products to make local revenue (ie shredded cardboard for house insulation), more advertising and public awareness of recycling drop-off centers and acceptable recyclables, raising dump load fees, mandating recycling in the county, grant writing, applying for Obama administration stimulus money, redirecting money from other county projects some members of the public disagree with as county spending priorities and putting it towards recycling instead, voting out any commissioners that donít support recycling, and encouraging the Commissioners to continue to subsidize the effort with taxpayer money even though it isnít profitable.
The audience expressed a desire to get the Sublette County Commissioners to hold a public meeting some evening with the Recycling Boards and community so everyone can get together and discuss the topic and try to find a solution to keep recycling going in the county.
One person commented that Sublette County has a group that is part of "Freecycle," another nonprofit recycling effort. The Sublette County Freecycleô group is open to all who want to "recycle" something rather than throw it away, such as a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door. The one rule is that every item posted must be free. The group serves Sublette County, Wyoming, including the towns of Big Piney, Big Sandy, Bondurant, Boulder, Cora, Daniel, Marbleton, Merna, Pinedale. More information about Sublette County Freecycle can be found here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SubletteWYFreecycle/
Members of the Pinedale Recycling Board answered questions from the public during the public comment period. There was a discussion about the possibility of using the trucks that haul garbage from Jackson to the Marbleton landfill and currently return empty and use them to transport recyclables up to the Jackson Recycling Center. It was explained that the recycled products couldnít be hauled in the same trucks as the garbage without first cleaning out the trucks between the loads so the recycled items arenít contaminated by the garbage. That option has been looked into, but isnít economical either.
The Pinedale Recycling Board members are on the agenda for the 9:30 AM timeslot to meet with the Sublette County Commissioners on Thursday, August 20th to discuss Recycling. Board members said interested persons are encouraged to attend to show support for the Pinedale Recycling Board and recycling in Sublette County. The Commissioners regular meeting starts at 9:00 AM and goes day in the Commissioner meeting room in the Sublette County Courthouse in Pinedale (21 S. Tyler Ave, southwest end entrance, second door on the right). Sublette County Commission Agenda for Thursday, August 20, 2009
Pinedale meeting set for recycling issues By Mari Muzzi, Sublette Examiner, August 17, 2009
Sublette County 2009 Budget: $166 Million Pinedale Online! July 21, 2009
Sublette County Commission news & info