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Recycling generates revenue for Middlesex

by Larry S. Chowning

Middlesex County’s two convenience centers and trash transfer site at Stormont all have recycling bins for paper, glass, plastic and metals.  (photo by Larry S. Chowning)

“Let’s all go green!” is a common battle cry these days, and Middlesex County residents and officials are taking an active role in this environmental effort. Recycling those newspapers and aluminum cans is saving Middlesex taxpayers some money, reported Stephen B. Geissler of the Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority (VPPSA) at the July 1 county supervisors’ meeting.

Geissler reported that in the current fiscal year (FY09), recycling materials at convenience centers will probably save the county as much as $25,000.

VPPSA has provided drop-off recycling bins at the Middlesex transfer station and three county convenience centers since 1993. Through the first eight years, a contractor provided collection of the recyclables. There was no fee for processing the materials, and no revenue was received.

VPPSA started hauling the recyclables to processing facilities in 2001, reported Geissler. Until recently, a small fee was paid for processing the containers of plastic, aluminum, steel and glass, and a small payment was received for paper recyclables such as corrugated cardboard, newsprint and mixed paper.

The county pays VPPSA to haul recyclables to the processing facilities. 

The county’s cost for the drop-off recycling program was $31,200 in FY06 and $35,000 in FY07.

This past year (FY08), VPPSA investigated and secured outlets for the sale of the recyclable materials, said Geissler, and now has a number of agreements in place that generate significant revenues from the sale of the recyclables.

The county is now receiving $2 per ton for glass, plastic and metal, and $90 or more per ton for paper and cardboard. All revenues are being returned to the county through a reduction in the VPPSA hauling costs.

With the increased value of paper products, the FY08 cost of the recycling program to the county was $23,200, and it is estimated that will be reduced to $10,000 in FY09.

This is compared to the cost of $23.25 per ton to bury the materials in a landfill, said Geissler. “We want to highly encourage people to start recycling because it’s going to save the taxpayers’ money and it’s environmentally good,” he said.

Assistant county administrator Marcia Jones said the county is encouraging everyone to recycle, and VPPSA recently installed containers at convenience centers specifically for cardboard products. 

“We are going to try to make it as convenient as possible, so more people will start recycling,” said Jones. “The future is in recycling and we need to get as many people involved as we can.”

VPPSA recently started a test program to recycle corrugated cardboard at schools by placing recycling containers at Middlesex High and Middlesex Elementary.
“Our goal is to expand the program to include corrugated and mixed paper recycling at all schools and county office buildings in VPPSA’s Middle Peninsula service area,” said Geissler.

Geissler said he is available to meet with local individuals or groups to discuss the operation of the drop-off recycling program.

The Town of Urbanna has had a recycling program for a number of years. Recyclables are picked up every Wednesday in front of the homes of those citizens willing to participate.

posted 07.18.2008

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