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Recycling drop-off sites are too popular to abandon.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Roanoke County is going to start offering a little help to its residents who want the convenience of curbside recycling and are willing to pay for it, leaving taxpayers off the hook.
And the board of supervisors agreed last week to keep five drop-off sites the county now offers to people willing to schlep their recyclables to collection bins, though this is going to start costing tax dollars.
The least the county can do, you say? Well, it is looking at spending more than $10,000 a year to maintain even that level of service. Granted, not a huge sum for an urban county where residents have voted their approval by regularly filling bins to overflowing.
After two straight years, though, of making more than $56,000 selling the recyclables to a company that since has changed hands, the expense was enough to make a couple of supervisors skittish. The board did well to stick to its bins.
While county officials acknowledge they get a growing number of requests for curbside service — as well as some criticism for its lack — pressure to add it to the county’s taxpayer-supported services clearly has not reached a tipping point: that point when failing to provide a desired service causes elected officials more anxiety than asking voters to pay for it.
Cutting a popular service can be equally perilous, though. And recycling is steadily growing. The county reports it accounted for 42 percent of solid waste last year.
In light of the evident demand, the supervisors agreed last week to a staff plan to work with private companies that pick up recyclables and promote those the county can recommend on its website.
Residents who want the service enough to pay for it can get help finding a provider. Thus far, two have qualified for the list.
If the cost outweighs convenience, residents committed to recycling still can haul their bottles, paper and cans to a bin.
Anything more will depend on public pressure, applied directly to the ears of elected supervisors.
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