Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – October 21, 2016 –
Having witnessed firsthand how corrupt our local Solid Waste JPA is and continues to be, I make it a point to ask questions whenever I travel to gauge just how badly our State solid waste regulations impact our local economy as well as confirm the basic facts that our local Solid Waste JPA uses those regulations to make the removal of Solid Waste among the most costly in the entire United States.
It was; therefore, a complete shock when garbage pick-up day occurred and I noticed that there was no recycle cart at my son-in-law’s curb. We have a CHOICE here in this State on a County basis as to whether or not we have curb side recycling he explained. What a novel concept. He went on to elaborate that this particular county, Jones County, is A SMALL RURAL COUNTY, where the cost of curb side recycling is cost prohibitive and has chosen not to recycle. Never fear, environmentalists with their collective mouths open in horror,recycling still is available at Jones County transfer stations for metal, wood, and oil. Recycling of other items that arenot cost effective on a small county-wide scale can still be taken and recycled in larger population centers for a small charge.
He went on to say that they pay $14 a month ( compared to $54 in Del Norte County) for a 96 gallon cart (actually $19 as my son-in-law doesn’t actually pay the bills, his wife does) to the County’s Water and Sewer Department where a County Clerk handles the business of the County’s waste collection and removal. In other North Carolina County’s garbage removal may be handled by multiple private contractors and curb side recycling can be offered at a cost. Jones County also has an additional option which is widely used to further reduce Waste Disposal costs in that you may purchase an orange sticker for $2.25 ($7.60 for a prepaid bag here) at many outlets to be placed on any plastic bag full of Solid Waste to be dumped at a nearby transfer station or at the curb. It all sounds kind of sensible to me and it seems to meet the needs of a vast majority of the County’s residents without any chronic evidence of blight or the build-up of garbage.
There isn’t the hysteria found in North Carolina about the over regulation of landfills and they are quite often to be found in many low lying coastal areas where reasonable steps are taken to assure safety and contamination concerns are met.
Landfills are frequently in reasonable proximity to transfer stations, making the overall costs ($38 per ton as opposed to $144 here) far less than we pay in this county. While locally we may not be able to do much about the State’s burdensome regulations, we can do something about curbing the overall cost of Waste Disposal by returning that job to the County, where it should be and eliminating our very expensive and ineffective JPA, the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority and its $1.5 million dollar budget.