City of Foley working to solve recycling issue

By Jessica Vaughn / jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/8/18

FOLEY – The City of Foley approved signing a contract with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority for city recyclables.

“I have looked and looked and exhausted every place and locale to dispose of …

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City of Foley working to solve recycling issue

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FOLEY – The City of Foley approved signing a contract with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority for city recyclables.

“I have looked and looked and exhausted every place and locale to dispose of our recycling,” said Public Works Superintendent Darrell Russell. “My suggestion is to try this for a year, and if something changes and if this gets expensive, more than the landfill, we’ll change it whether we go to aluminum and paper or what course to take.”

The request comes after China has quit buying any recyclables, putting the globe into what some are calling a “recycling crisis.”

“Now that China’s not buying anymore, it’s piling up all over the world,” said councilman Ralph Hellmich. “So a lot of the recyclable things that were commercial have less places to take it. We’re going to reach a point that doing a good thing is a good thing, but if you have nowhere to recycle it, then are you doing a good thing or only costing the citizens money?”

Hellmich added that it’s not just Foley feeling the stress of where to dispose of recyclables, but cities all over the world. He stated that both himself and City Administrator Mike Thompson have spoken with multiple cities about the problem, and have discovered most of them are in the same situation.

“What prodded China to make this decision was they were dealing with contamination issues,” said councilman Charlie Ebert III. “Part of their decision to shut down taking in any outside recyclables was due to the environmental concerns.”

In the past, cities could bring in revenue for recycling rather than using a landfill, but now with the crisis growing there is no revenue to be found from recycling.

“Now it’s costing money to the point where it’s almost cheaper to put it in a landfill, but we’re trying to do the right thing environmentally,” said Ebert.

With ECUA there is no revenue to be gained, but there is also no charge for recycling. The landfill charges $33, meaning at the present moment ECUA, along with being better for the environment, is also the cheapest solution.

“If we go from zero to 33 somewhere over the next year, I would recommend going back with ECUA, but of course if it goes over that $33 mark I may suggest let’s change the products,” said Russell. “There’s money in cardboard and aluminum, so we’ll just have to wait it out and see when we get there.”