For the time being, you can forget about local recycling.
By unanimous vote, county commissioners voted Tuesday to temporarily suspend the program, likely until the next budget year begins Oct. 1.
A combination of factors have led to the suspension, including a plummeting in the price paid for recyclables, as well as the deterioration of the 2008 truck, which costs $21,000 for a new engine, and which is used to haul around the five recycling containers, found in Apalachicola at the ABC School; in Eastpoint at Vrooman Park; on St. George Island; in Carrabelle at the former city hall complex; and in Lanark Village, near the St. James Rehab Center.
Solid Waste director Fonda Davis said the county will continue to pick up cardboard, which commands as much as $35 a ton, but has been as low as $25 per ton. As well they have a program for used motor oil, which Commissioner Ricky Jones helped push for.
Metal cans still command a fair price, but many people have been pilfering from the containers, Davis said.
He said there no longer is a market, or a minimal one, for glass, paper and plastics. “We have no one to sell it to,” Davis said. “We are basically paying to get rid of it.”
He said often products have to be placed in the landfill. “I can stockpile cans and it holds the value,” Davis said. “But the rest of it sits out, and in the summer the plastic deteriorates.”
Commissioner Bert Boldt has pushed for the county turning to a mobile recycling program, and Davis plans to put it in his budget request this summer.
A new recycling truck would cost about $120,000, but a mobile unit could be purchased for $10,000, and could be transported by a $30,000 regular pick-up truck.
He said he expects to collect the recycling containers from their locations by month’s end.