Marion County Commissioners delayed a decision Monday whether to continue a countywide recycling program. County residents Margaret Wilson and Eileen Sieger attended the meeting in support of recycling.
Weighing the benefits of recycling against the cost is a challenge, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said. If someone could prove to him that recycling would be no more expensive on a per-ton basis than sending waste to a landfill, he would support it wholeheartedly, he said.
But if it is more expensive to recycle, he doesn’t know how much more county residents would be willing to pay in taxes, he said.
Continuing a recycling program would require purchasing a trailer and a truck to pull the trailer, and hiring someone to handle the route. So far the county has used a truck already in use, a borrowed trailer, and volunteer labor, but that cannot continue, Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said.
The cost to send waste to Butler County Landfill was about $35 per ton in December for fuel and tipping fees, Schmidt calculated.
Commissioner Dan Holub said he couldn’t see how recycling was more expensive than going to the landfill. Both include labor and fuel costs, but recycling requires a smaller truck and trailer.
Also, recycling doesn’t cost the county in landfill fees; rather, the county can earn some revenue for valuable recycled goods, he said.
Commissioners should look beyond the cost of recycling, Wilson said.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” she said.