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Recycling bins will be convenient

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Editor’s note: The following is in response to a letter from Lawrenceburg resident Richard Spencer titled “Recycle bins a questionable idea at best,” that was printed in the July 4 edition of the paper.

To the editor:
As committee chair for the Anderson County Environmental Committee, I would like to thank Mr. Spencer for taking the time to provide feedback on our plan for improving Anderson County’s environmental program.
I encourage anyone to provide comments, so we can consider these and possibly make our program even better.
In developing this plan, the committee carefully considered many options. It chose to replace the unsustainable curbside collection with community drop-off trailers.
Mr. Spencer voiced several concerns with this option; so, I would like to address these concerns with some feedback from our committee, which consists of representatives from the county and city, local businesses and school system, as well as several environmental professionals).
Mr. Spencer was concerned about increased personal cost for travel to the drop-off trailers. Certainly, if every resident made a special trip to drop off materials, more gasoline would be consumed (and pollution generated) than if the county used its trucks to collect recyclables.
But, we don’t expect residents to make special trips.  The new drop-off trailers will be spotted at convenient locations, (schools, Walmart and other locations in the county). With very little effort, recyclables can be taken to the trailers (at no extra cost) when going to a store, a ball game, school, etc.  The vast majority of recycle programs in Kentucky follow this method (by a margin of 10-to-1).  
Mr. Spencer also expressed concern about program costs and revenue. Curbside service has proven costly both in manpower, fuel and vehicle maintenance.  The county is currently servicing only about 20 percent of the residents, but collecting only 1 percent of how many pounds could be collected.
The economics for picking up a few thousand pounds that requires driving hundreds of miles through the rural areas of the county is not sustainable in these tight budget times. The county has to borrow manpower to keep up.
This has been a noble attempt by the county to get a recycling program started, but it is now time to grow to the next level. Having more tonnage at fewer locations to haul saves the county money which can be better used to improve the program.
Also, the recycling containers some residents have purchased are still a good investment for storing their recyclables until they have enough to take to a drop-off trailer.
As for revenue, the county currently gets about $2,000 per month for materials from the curbside program, which is currently funneled back into the county’s waste program budget. Having trailers available 24-7 will allow more materials to be collected from more residents more economically.  Uses for the increased revenue will be determined by the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
If anyone has questions about the proposed program expansion or the county’s environmental program, please contact the County judge-executive’s office or send emails to greener.city@yahoo.com.
David Steedly
Anderson County Environmental Committee