Recycling to get major overhaul — Staffed collection centers planned

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Current recycling efforts are have become futile due to illegal dumping of household garbage at bins intended to hold only recyclable items.

BAYBORO – The Pamlico County Commissioners voted 4 to 2 Monday night for a drastic change in the way county-wide recycling is administered. The tentative plan – with a hoped-for start date of Oct. 1 – calls for several fenced-in sites at high-traffic locations where trained attendants will accept ONLY verifiable items suitable for recycling.

Although details remain sketchy, county official Garry Cooper outlined a proposal to staff recycling stations on a rotating basis, using existing staffers.

Approval of Cooper’s proposal reverses a vote earlier this year, when a majority of the board voted to turn a blind eye toward the illegal dumping at recycling sites, arguing that dumping will inevitably occur – and better to see it at a handful of recycling locations than along hundreds of miles of county roadways.

The contamination forces entire recycling bins to dump as if 100 percent of the load is garbage. Zero recycling occurs.

Commissioner Doug Brinson joined Commissioner Paul Delamar in opposing the change of current policy.

“I don’t see any of this making for less trash on the sides of our roads,” said Brinson. “I’m thinking we’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope on this one.”

Commissioner Ed Riggs Jr. has long pushed for manned recycling sites. To partially dissuade illegal dumping, he pressed Cooper to consider two modes of collection at each site – one bin for recyclables and another bin for regular garbage.

“People are going to show up with at least some regular trash,” said Riggs.

But Delamar pointed out that collection of regular garbage at recycling sites was not part of the evening’s approved plan. Presumably, Cooper’s plan – approved Monday night – is to accept recycling only – and not anything else.

“If we do it the other way,” said Delamar, “we all know this opens the door to one of two things. Either county government-operated convenience centers, which will require tax dollars; or, contracting with a private carrier for waste collection – and that means all of our residents being forced to pay for the service.”