When asked, most people will say that recycling is essential, or at least recommended, in making sure the Earth can sustain life. On a much more local level, the City of Perryville and the county are striving to continue to find ways to make recycling the best choice for customers.
“We continue to work with the county recyclers and Solid Waste Committee on recycling opportunities,” said City Administrator Brent Buerck.
According to Buerck, the Perry County Recycling Center has had a great run, but some changes are likely in order to help it remain effective.
“The curbside recycling center started [15 or] 20 years ago,” Buerck said. “When they approached us and asked if we could pick up, it was a good time because everything was at a high value. That the recycling center has sustained for 15 to 20 years of recycling is incredible. At some point, the board was asked to supply a truck and a staff member. We’ve done that for several years, and now we’re trying to work through what the next phase of recycling will look like.”
Over the years, there has been a decrease in recycling within the community. A lot of people are now throwing away items rather than recycling them. Some of these items are not even legal to simply throw away. As a result, the curbside recycling pickup is being stopped for the time being.
“At this point, this is an uphill challenge,” Buerck said. “We’ve explained hopefully very well the challenges we’re experiencing. We are working with the county on options.”
Buerck and other city and county officials are also seeking direct feedback from customers in order to have a better understanding of what they would like to have as far as a recycling service.
“You will see this in your bill,” Buerck said, describing flyers that were sent out to customers with their bills. “There’s a QR code at the top that you can scan with your cell phone that will take you to a survey. I think there are 27 questions or thereabouts. We’ll compile them and meet with the county.”
The recycling center is also considering security updates to help them better handle trailers and bins of recyclables because people have misused them many times in the past.
“We pulled a toilet from the glass bin,” Buerck said. “Somebody just threw it away, that way they wouldn’t have to pay to get rid of it.”
People have also brought in muddy or extremely dirty glass and other recyclables that contaminated the whole load, rendering everything useless and unable to be recycled. This can also damage the machines used in the recycling centers. Because of this, Buerck said that the city and county are trying to work harder with the recycling center to make sure the rules are followed.
“If that’s the route we go, there will have to be a whole level of security with enforcement,” Buerck said.
The city and county are considering raising the cost per month for recycling to help the recycling program remain profitable; although, Buerck said that it will require serious thought and careful calculation.
“If you raise it up to the seven or eight dollars it takes, you may have 400 or 500 people drop out, so then it becomes a question of ‘is this seven or eight dollars still covering [everything]?’ because you’ve got less material and less people. Do you alternate the routes? Those are all things the committee is talking about. … A lot of people have indicated that they would be willing to pay four to six dollars, so we’ll have to work through that.”
Currently, about one third of the community recycles. Several more used to before the addition of the one dollar per month fee was added.
While the decisions are still being made about the future of recycling in the city and the county, Buerck encourages citizens to recycle as much as possible, stating that the recycling center, as well as other locations, will accept more than some would think.
“We do accept appliances out at the recycling center for free,” Buerck said. “A lot of people don’t realize that. If you’ve got a refrigerator or a stove or a dishwasher, take it out there. They will accept anything that’s cord or battery because you can’t throw those things in landfills.”
Aside from the recycling center, other businesses and locations accept a variety of items. For example, Atlas EPS accepts Styrofoam and has a bin where customers can drop it off for free. Public Works accepts excess cooking oils and encourages people to bring it in rather than simply dumping it down the drain, which can be harmful to pipes over time.
“There are a lot of opportunities to recycle, and they still accept all of these things [at the recycling center],” Buerck said. “They’re still working on a better structure for that. Right now, we’re just not picking up curbside, but everything else can go to the recycling center.”
For more information about recycling and which items are acceptable, call the recycling center at 573-547-5006.