Cost of recycling must be known

Friday, January 16, 2009

CHAPEL HILL -- Recycling was discussed at length during a special public hearing at the Fire Hall meeting room last week when a county consultant asked residents to provide ideas on what to do if and when Cedar Ridge Landfill is closed.

However, recycling programs can be expensive, Alderwoman Marion Joyce explained later, expressing her hope that the general public clearly understands what it would mean for each household if an extensive recycling program were started in the rest of Marshall County.

Only one quadrant of Lewisburg has curbside recycling now. It's to be expanded to the rest of the city this year. In doing so, twice a week collection of garbage is to be replaced with one day for recyclable materials such as paper, plastic and metal. The other day would be more for kitchen wastes that can't be recycled or ground up in a kitchen sink disposal.

Chapel Hill residents appear satisfied with their garage collection service, Town Administrator Mike Hatten said.

However, some residents need the county's convenience center for objects garbage trucks can't take, so that service's hours should continue and especially on the weekends. If hours must be cut, ten perhaps it should be in the mornings Monday through Friday.

Griggs mentioned garbage incinerators and composting. There is no incinerator in the state now that the one in Nashville has been closed. It was used to generate steam to power downtown heating systems.

Johnson City tried composting, Griggs said.

"That failed too, so the way it's done is with private landfills," the consultant said.

"We're not here to talk about whether we need another landfill," Griggs said.

"We will call around to other landfills in the area to know costs," he said.

Mayor Carl Cooper advocated finding ways to reduce the creation of household trash. That may require wise choices when purchases are made.

Education and incentives were suggested as ways to increase recycling and reduce the origins of waste, according to the discussion between about 20 people. They included five county commissioners, the county mayor, the county solid waste director, three employees of Waste Management Inc., the consultant, a reporter, four town officials and perhaps as many area residents.