Saturday, February 6, 2016

Big Recycling Improvement Plans Hit Roadblock

Fairhope, Alabama


After almost three years of planning (click), some members of the city's recycling committee expressed disappointment when the city council decided not to proceed with the committee's recommendation to switch to the more-simple single stream method (click): citizens will not be issued blue containers to mix all items in together as had been expected; a recent downturn in the market-cycle for the commodities, associated increased costs, and the problem of contamination and unreliable vendors were some of the reasons cited for changing course.
Some of what the city is taking to its main vendor in Loxley appeared to be destined for the county's landfill anyway because it is contaminated, according to Mayor Kant who visited the facility recently: The cost of separating items is prohibitively high for the vendor at the present time.

The council also decided not to proceed with considering the city looking into forming its own recycling facility (a MRF) perhaps in partnership with neighboring communities -- for the same reasons.

Councilman Burell suggested that the blue bins at all city parks be removed as well, since they are "contaminated" (everything thrown in together): destined for the garbage dump.

All civilian city committee members are volunteers and receive no pay.


Chairman Anderson at left
Instead, the current model of requiring curbside sorting by citizens themselves into separate container will continue -- and state ADEM grants applied for to fund another campaign  to educate the public about the benefits of recycling.

The commodities market is expect to recover eventually, a usual five year cycle according to Environmental Officer Dale Linder.

In 2013, after the mayor called the city's program "a mess" (click), several new members were appointed to the re-formed committee which was charged with the goal of increasing participation from less than  40% to 80% -- and single stream was their recommendation for getting there.

Instead, now the committee will look into the possibility of purchasing equipment (a baler and skid loader) to facilitate storing the materials in the Pecan Street warehouse until the market improves -- and acquiring some type of carts at some point that may be used for both single stream and separation sorting methods.

Hiring a private company to take over the service is still an option too.

Committee Chairperson Nancy Anderson said citizens were anxiously anticipating getting the blue bins; but the committee would be willing to shift its focus to re-education using the current method.

(Members of several other city committees also privately express frustration with the council's inaction: including the Environmental, Historical Preservation and Pedestrian.)


Anonymous said...

Why can Fairhope not get a grip on this issue???

Anonymous said...

Uhhh ... poor leadership maybe?

Anonymous said...

Apathy by the citizens of Fairhope. Utilization of recycling services is around 30% because they are too lazy to separate glass from paper and take it to the curb. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Recycling is really a United Nations plot by Commie treehuggers ....

Anonymous said...

you whine about people recycling. You need to take your lazy but to landfills other than fairhope . It will totally change how you feel or maybe not . Some people are selfish and want others to do for them and by your comment I mean you