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Drop-off trash fees to increase
'Costing us more to operate,' official says
Trash 1 WEB
Esteban Hernandez, left, helps Robert Teems unload trash and recycling Friday at the Tolbert Street center. The cost to drop off a bag of trash for recycling customers will soon go up to 50 cents a bag. - photo by Autumn McBride

Starting Friday, the cost of dropping off household trash at Forsyth County convenience centers will double per bag for recycling customers.

The first-time fee increase for Forsyth County still keeps it lower than most neighboring jurisdictions that operate under the same system, said Tammy Wright, manager of environmental programs.

The increase from 25 cents to 50 cents per bag serves multiple purposes for the county’s solid waste department, including matching rising operating costs, meeting improvement goals and hopefully increasing recycling, Wright said.

“Because of the economic times, it’s costing us more to operate the centers,” she said. “We’re not necessarily breaking the bank, but in order for us to prepare for our future, we need to do more than just break even.”

The solid waste department operates under an enterprise fund, which raises money through trash drop-off fees, rather than taxpayer dollars.

Those fees keep operations at the three centers self-sustaining and go toward meeting the county’s solid waste plan goals.

One of those long-term goals includes building trash and recycling centers in “convenient proximity to everyone,” Wright said.

The county currently runs three centers, one on Tolbert Street, one on Old Atlanta Road and the third at Coal Mountain Park.

About 11,000 customers visit the locations to throw out trash each month, Wright said. Even more may bring items to recycle for free, she added.

People dropping off bags at the busy Tolbert center last week agreed that the new 50-cent-per-bag fee won’t keep them away.

Resident Tammy Glasgow said the fee increase still doesn’t compare to the expense of the alternative: curbside pickup by a private company.

Robert Teems agreed that he’ll continue to visit the center at his usual rate.

“I’ve got to dump it somewhere,” Teems said. “I appreciate the quarter a bag, but I know they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.”

Recycling, which is free for most items, will stay that way even though the cost to dispose of trash will go up.

Customers who don’t drop off recycling when they bring trash will continue to pay $1 per bag.

Each bag over the five per day limit will cost $2.

“It’s my job to make sure that Forsyth County is constantly decreasing the amount of trash that goes into landfills,” Wright said. “One way of doing that is by encouraging people to recycle.

“Unfortunately, sometimes the best encouragement is money.”

Wright said another reason for the increase to 50 cents per bag for recycling customers is to encourage residents to more carefully sort their garbage.

“Most people are not recycling to the highest extent they can,” she said. “If those people would take just a couple extra minutes and pull out just a little bit more of their recyclables, they probably won’t see a price increase.”