The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is trashing Floyd County for not keeping up with Commonwealth's standards on recycling.

In reality, the county is trashing itself.

Reports The Roanoke Times:

Floyd County will need to do some trash talking with the state about the county's apparently lackluster recycling program.

According to a report released this past week by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, rural Floyd County recycled only 11 percent of its solid waste stream in 2006.

The DEQ's annual report calculates recycling rates for communities and regions across the state. Statewide, the recycling rate increased from 32.2 percent in 2005 to 38.4 percent, an increase that David Paylor, DEQ director, attributed to "the continued support by Virginians for recycling in their communities."

State law requires the recycling rate for Floyd County and other areas of low population density to be at least 15 percent. The gap means county officials must now submit to DEQ a "recycling action plan" that will identify possible remedies.

Floyd County's low recycling rate surprised Sherrell Thompson, its recycling coordinator, who said he thought the county "was doing better than that."

Let's see if we have this straight: The county's recycling coordinator says he "thought" the county "was doing better than that?"  He thought? Isn't it his job to know how the county is doing?

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is trashing Floyd County for not keeping up with Commonwealth’s standards on recycling.

In reality, the county is trashing itself.

Reports The Roanoke Times:

Floyd County will need to do some trash talking with the state about the county’s apparently lackluster recycling program.

According to a report released this past week by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, rural Floyd County recycled only 11 percent of its solid waste stream in 2006.

The DEQ’s annual report calculates recycling rates for communities and regions across the state. Statewide, the recycling rate increased from 32.2 percent in 2005 to 38.4 percent, an increase that David Paylor, DEQ director, attributed to "the continued support by Virginians for recycling in their communities."

State law requires the recycling rate for Floyd County and other areas of low population density to be at least 15 percent. The gap means county officials must now submit to DEQ a "recycling action plan" that will identify possible remedies.

Floyd County’s low recycling rate surprised Sherrell Thompson, its recycling coordinator, who said he thought the county "was doing better than that."

Let’s see if we have this straight: The county’s recycling coordinator says he "thought" the county "was doing better than that?"  He thought? Isn’t it his job to know how the county is doing?

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6 Responses

  1. After reading that Roanoke Times article back in December, I looked up Sherrell’s email address and sent the following message outlining my concerns… twice in fact. But I never did receive a response. I think these are valid concerns and perhaps you bringing attention to Floyd County’s recycling woes will help kickstart some change.

    “Good Afternoon,

    My name is Kris and I live in the Willis area. I have a couple of questions regarding Floyd County recycling. One question I have is why the various recycling drop-off stations are not all the same in terms of what they are labeled to accept? For instance, my closest recycling drop-off station is in Indian Valley. This station is labeled for acceptance of green and brown glass, but I know of several other stations in the county that do not accept these types of glass. My fear is that the brown and green glass I deposit in Indian Valley just ends up in a landfill. Along these same lines, I know of only a couple stations in the county that are labeled to accept corrugated cardboard. My friend and fellow county resident, who lives on Christiansburg Pike has a collection station near his home that accepts corrugated. However, since it is not labeled appropriately he reports that he routinely sees corrugated cardboard discarded in the green box as opposed to the recycling bin, which are right next to each other.

    If possible, I would like to get involved in making improvements to the system. I could see this beginning with such simple tasks as creating signs to label bins appropriately or even constructing additional bins to standardize these collection stations across the county.

    Thank you for your time and I appreciate the work that you do.”

  2. Hi Jeff,

    “…conservative and liberal alike would concede that trash disposal is an important service…”

    I’m not sure if you would call me an “old right” conservative or a “classical” liberal or a libertarian. I will agree that trash disposal is an important service, but I take exception with the idea that a mandated plan for anything is a “service”.

    Remember that when you say things like “all residents should pay a fee”, you are threatening to throw people in jail if they don’t agree.

    It is always an option that Floyd County stops running the “service” of taxing us twice a year to deal with our refuse. Then we could each choose to pay any number of people to haul it away, or recycle it, or try any other creative way to deal with it that doesn’t involve theft, intimidation, or other crime.

  3. A more appropriate person to direct comments to concerning County services would be your representative of the Board of Supervisors.

    Back in 1994 the County tried assessing an “Environmental Fee,” it was $6/month billed quarterly and proved so unpopular that it was soon done away with. Since then we have closed our landfill and are still dealing with the closure expenses, and by lack of other options transfer our refuse to a landfill in North Carolina where it is tipped for a fee. The fuel and hauling expenses are also affecting these costs.

    We should recognize that trash disposal is a major element of the Budget, see the Floyd Press last week wherein the County found that in closing perimeter greenboxes and monitoring usage we were able to save a healthy amount by discouraging residents of other Counties using our system.

    I think conservative and liberal alike would concede that trash disposal is an important service and should no longer be a free ride. It may be timely to discuss assessment of a user fee, and impose restrictions on the use of this service. At minimum all residents should pay a fee, and it makes sense that any bulk refuse be weighed and assessed a fee as well, we have scales, and a display at the transfer station shelter; though there is a precedent for paying by volume. Contractors and industries would be encouraged to conserve by being assessed a fee by the size of their load, it doesn’t take much thought to see this through to a logical process. Other Counties that have instituted service fees have actually seen a reduction in property taxes since the revenues offset the cost.

    There are many ways to encourage cooperation in recycling programs, rewarding source separations and offering services that segregate wastes is a cost effective approach. More complicated is finding markets for materials, and diverting these streams from the transfer station floor.

    An unanswered e-mail to an employee is not effective; a conversation with neighbors and a stream of letters or phone calls to the Supervisors may be…

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