Friday, September 16, 2011

County maps future of recycling program

Commissioners want to hear from public


Char Nelson, director of operations for Blaine County, discusses the systems used at the recycling center in Ohio Gulch, north of Hailey. Photo by David N. Seelig

By MARK A. YORK

For the Express

Blaine County commissioners agreed Monday to hold a public meeting on an as-yet-unscheduled date in mid-October to take comments on the goals and processes of the county's recycling program.

Blaine County took over the recycling program from southern Idaho Solid Waste District last fall.

"We have a strong desire to hear from the public about what they expect from the program," said Commissioner Larry Schoen, but he expressed concern over a proposal to create a "steering committee" to study the direction of the current program.

"We do not need to delay, waiting for a study by a steering committee," he said. "I'm wary that such a committee would govern the recycling center."

Schoen said the county needs to determine whether to move from a duel- to a single-stream system, which is more difficult to set up. In a single-stream system, all the collected materials are commingled and sorted later at the facility, but that requires significant changes to accomplish, including new carts, collection vehicles and upgrading the processing facility.

Commissioner Tom Bowman questioned whether recycling in an isolated area with high transportation costs to major recycled-product processing centers defeated the program's purpose and just felt good.

"We have to have established goals," he said. "What are they—to reduce our use of energy and greenhouse gases? Reduce our carbon footprint? I don't know how to measure efficiency because I don't know the goals."

Bowman said he wonders if reduction of use instead of recycling shouldn't be the focus. Even so, he said, there are benefits to the program and it should be improved, not abandoned.

<

"Environmental leadership is a high value to this community," Schoen said. "The goal is to use the earth's resources efficiently to the best of our ability. It costs money to do that and our remote location affects this. We need to use our financial resources effectively to achieve this goal."

Commissioner Angenie McCleary emphasized the importance of better public information that is easily obtained and simple, as well as providing good customer service at the Ohio Gulch facility.

"We need an avenue for public engagement," she said. "The committee has to have a clear role so they know the realm of what they are working on."

She said there should be public input on what the committee function would be.

The recycling program has an annual budget of $243,405. The commissioners agreed there isn't enough of a market for recycled materials for sales revenue to fully fund the program.

Lisa Huttinger, education coordinator for the nonprofit Environmental Resource Center in Ketchum, said she fields a lot of calls from residents looking to recycle items not accepted at the landfill, and organizations such as hers could be helpful and cost effective in disseminating information to the public.

"You should consider ERC the resource for information," she said.

"We should work together to meet community needs," Schoen responded.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.