UNION COUNTY — From now on when you take your plastic and glass to the recycling convenience center it will no longer be going in the blue bins to be recycled but in the compactor with other household garbage to go to the landfill.
In a special meeting Thursday afternoon, Union County Council received a report from Public Works Director Brad Jolly who said that due to the collapse of the market for recyclable plastic, Pratt Industries, the company that has been providing recycling services to the county, will no longer accept plastic. Jolly said the company’s decision is due to the fact that the decline in the price of oil has made oil-based materials such as recyclable plastic less valuable and therefore no longer profitable for Pratt to recycle.
Until Friday, Pratt had been recycling the plastic, glass, mixed paper, and corrugated cardboard collected at the recycling convenience centers free of charge. On Friday, however, the contract the county had with Pratt expired and Jolly told council that the company will no longer take the county’s recyclable plastic. He said the company is also not excepting glass anymore either because it too is unprofitable.
In his briefing to council, Jolly said that the company is willing to continue recycling mixed paper and corrugated cardboard for the county. Unlike the old contract where the service was free, Jolly said that under a proposed three-month contract, the county would have to pay Pratt to haul away the mixed paper and corrugated cardboard at a projected cost of $1,008 per month.
Jolly said that the plastic and glass collected at the convenience centers will no longer be placed in the blue bins but in the compactor with household garbage and disposed of in the landfill.
In discussing the situation with council, Jolly said that Pratt had offered to take the plastic if the county would transport it to its Duncan facility. Jolly said this would require the county to compact the plastic so that the maximum amount possible could be transported. He said that the county would get at most $20 a ton or, given the capacity of the truck that would be used to transport it, $60 a trip, revenue that would have to be balanced against the cost involved in transporting it.
Prior to briefing council on the recycling situation, Jolly presented a report on the status of the Public Works Department’s Solid Waste Division. In his report, Jolly pointed out that the county has three roll-off trucks, the vehicles that would have to be used to transport the plastic, describing one as a 2013 model with 102,673 miles on it, another as a 1999 model with 412,926 miles on it, and the third as a 1998 model with 335,604 miles on it. He also pointed out that fuel costs for last year totaled $21,349.31 and that repairs for the roll-off trucks last year totaled $10,922.94, adding that the 1998 model had recently been repaired at a cost of $11,008.38.
Following Jolly’s briefing, council voted 3-1 to approve the three-month contract with Pratt for having the company take the county’s mixed paper and corrugated cardboard. In approving the motion, council directed that the county look into getting the contract extended through the end of the current fiscal year. This would give the county time to see how it works and determine what course of action to take.
Councilmen Ralph Tucker, Ben Ivey, and Randall “Chump” Hanvey voted in favor of the new contract with Council Member Joan Little opposed. Council members Tommy Ford and Kacie Petrie were absent from Thursday’s meeting.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.