Washington County Solid Waste to continue, reassess recycling program with new company

ST. GEORGE — Washington County Solid Waste reassured residents that it is not considering the termination of its recycling programs “at this point.”

According to a statement posted on its website, the department has received numerous calls from residents who believe it is removing recycling collection programs. WCSW is hoping to continue to offer recycling programs for residents without increasing their fees. 

“We are not, at this point, terminating the recycling program,” the post reads. 

In June, Ivins City Councilman Cheyne McDonald, who is on the WCSW board, said the district is paying more to recycle solid waste than it would if recyclable materials were placed in the landfill, “to the tune of almost twice as much.”

When Washington County began contributing to cover the cost for residents to recycle, the county was paying less than half the cost they would have been if the recyclable material was placed in the landfill. According to McDonald, there has been discussion during WCSW meetings to do away with recycling altogether, but that the district is “still trying to keep recycling afloat.” 

The Washington County Solid Waste “Binnie” program bins located in the Walmart parking lot, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

District Manager Neil Schwendiman said WCSW is currently looking into alternative means of recycling after the contractor, Rocky Mountain Recycling, declared a “force majeure” to nullify its contract with the county. The company cites the increasingly poor economy in recycling materials as the motivations behind it. 

WCSW said it is contracting with another company that will oversee the processing of recyclable materials until the end of the contracted term in February 2021. Collection of recyclable materials will also continue until that time.

Collected and processed recyclable materials will be sent to Las Vegas to avoid the use of local landfills, but the changes will not have an effect on the cost for area residents.

WCSW confirmed it will be making changes to the recyclable materials in the residential blue cans, which now only allow cardboard, metal food and beverage cans, and some plastics such as milk jugs and water bottles.

WCSW became a district in 1978 and oversees the solid waste disposal of residential and commercial entities to ensure practices are environmentally friendly, economically efficient, safe and socially responsible, according to its website.

The county has two recycling programs: the “Binnie” program, where residents can bring pre-separated materials to a communal bin, and the “BLUCAN” curbside program that was started in 2016, where residents can place recyclable materials in a blue can that is picked up from their homes.

WCSW has posted a survey to its site in order to gather feedback from the various communities in the county before moving forward. District board meetings are held every second Monday in February, May, August, November and December. 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!