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Recycling district eyes household hazardous-waste plan

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Effort to ramp up paper collection put on hold

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The executive director and advisory board of the Perry County Recycling Management District are continuing to work toward launching a household-hazardous-waste collection program and have put a proposed office-paper shredding effort on hold to focus on it.

The director, Ken Smith, said at a board-of-directors meeting March 22 he was awaiting a quote for a concrete containment unit to go under a building that will house the materials.

A manufactured HHW building with features such as special ventilation and fireproofing could be purchased for approximately $45,000, Smith said, but in conversations with representatives of other districts, he learned that expense isn’t necessary. A building that would meet requirements of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management could be built for $10,000 to $15,000, “to get everything up and running,” he explained.

An IDEM representative had just visited the county and “said as far as he knows, everything is up to par” in the district, Smith told the board. “He’s supposed to get back with me on anything that I haven’t looked at. He said he didn’t think there was anything.”

Board member and Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing asked him to prepare a business plan to project the cost of collecting the hazardous materials, which Smith said would likely consist mainly of paint.

The projected cost of a shredder to support the collection of office paper would be $25,000 to $30,000 for a “Taj Mahal version,” Smith said, “but we don’t have to start with the Taj Mahal.”

He projected the paper collection would generate approximately $8,000 annually in revenue.

Production on a Bobcat loader he ordered will begin in April, he also told the board.

The latest in a series of drug-takeback efforts has been scheduled for April 28, Smith said. They allow people to safely dispose of medications that are outdated or no longer needed. People used to flush them down toilets, but they can get into public water supplies under that method.

His office continued to receive annual fees from people, Smith said, noting that while most pay their bills without problems, “we’ve got a bunch of very upset people … if you all get phone calls, don’t be surprised.”

Ewing told Smith her office had heard from several people who don’t understand it’s a county, not a city fee. She asked if the district could educate people on why they’re being billed and the benefits they get.

“There’s no guarantee it’ll make acceptance easier,” she said, “but it can’t hurt.”

“Most of the people that I talk to that have a problem have had a problem every year,” Smith said. “The new ones that come in ask what it’s for, you tell them and they have no problem with it.”

Some people say, “I don’t use it, why should I have to pay for it? I burn my trash,” he added.

The board will next meet at 6 p.m. April 26.