Has your trash service stopped picking up recycling but left the charge on your monthly bill?
The Forsyth County News has heard from several residents concerned about the issue. We spoke with Marla Prince, Senior Community Relations Specialist for Waste Management, and with Tammy Wright, manager of Environmental Programs for Forsyth County, and here is what we learned.
Staffing shortages have hit the waste removal industry just like many other businesses according to Prince.
She explained via email that the staffing shortage forced the change, saying, ”we hope to resume recycling services soon. During the interim, our recycling drivers have been reassigned to waste collection routes to ensure we continue to meet those needs.”
Prince told us they are aware that the fee is still being charged unless customers call and have it removed. She explained that, without having recycling available, some customers have more trash than one bin will hold, so the company is picking up the recycling bin as regular trash if it is left out.
Customers would normally pay an extra charge for a second trash bin, so Prince said the Recycling fee was left in place to offset that expense. Prince did say that any customer who does not need that extra space can call Waste Management and have the recycling bin picked up and the charge removed from their bill.
Tammy Wright said she understands the concern, and that trash pickup has to take precedence over recycling since it can be a public health issue, but she hopes it does not turn into a long term issue. Wright did say that the recycling centers have been busier since the trash haulers have stopped picking up recycling, but they have been able to keep up with the increase.
Wright said that one reason they have been able to keep up is that the items left at the recycle centers are all separated as they are dropped off, which removes a great deal of the labor needed to sort recycling picked up by the waste companies. She explained that this allows each vendor to pick up only the recycling items they normally deal with, simplifying the process. This also allows the county to receive a rebate on some of the recycled items.
Wright explained, “all of the basic materials...are hauled to a local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to be sorted. Materials from the county centers do not require the extensive sorting process that curbside recycling does because it is presorted when the customer drops it off. This is one reason that the materials brought to the center are more valuable. The county receives a rebate on these materials.”
While many recyclables can be dropped at the county facilities for free, they do charge for some items, such as paint and some electronics. The Forsyth County website has a complete list of items they accept for recycling.
The county has three centers where both bagged trash and recyclables can be dropped off.
In addition, the county holds several recycling events for items like paint and electronics each year, usually at the Cumming Fairgrounds.
Keep Forsyth County Beautiful lists these events, along with other environment-related items on its website calendar.