Community Spoke at Recycling Forums

Over 130 people attended the community forums to discuss the recycling program in Lander and Riverton this past month. The community stakeholders are now meeting to review the thoughts and ideas presented by community members, and compile a recommendation for the Fremont Count Solid Waste Disposal District Board. The District Board is planning an initial review of the community forum summary at their next meeting, May 16, 2016 at 9:30am at the Lander Landfill.

Forum discussion showed recycling volume needs to be higher for financial efficiency. Currently, 14 percent of the District budget is spent on five percent of its waste stream that constitutes recycling. To increase volume, county residents need to be informed of recycling’s importance and how to recycle.

Various ways of covering the cost of trash and recycling are being considered, including improving the efficiency of processing, and mandatory city fees. It was related at the forums that the cities of Laramie, Cheyenne and Gillette all charge for recycling. A contrary opinion is for non-recycling residents to be charged more for trash disposal as they are not diverting waste from the landfill.

Other ideas are to create a new tax district and help develop local markets for recyclable items. Recycled plastics are shipped to Asia to be re-manufactured into products, and the higher numbered classes of plastic have the least financial return. Looking at these economic factors, the stakeholders are considering only offering recycling for #1 and #2 plastics which are most valuable on the market.

The forum participants encouraged businesses, organizations and government entities to consider the moral responsibilities of recycling for the health of future generations. It was suggested recycling businesses be given tax reductions for providing services.

Several community members pointed out that it’s not waste until we make it waste, and the underlying issue is society’s rate of consumption. Teaching the value of buying second-hand and repairing items to younger generations is important to reducing waste.