Residential curbside recycling pickup in the county will be suspended for 60 days after a vote during Monday night’s Independence County Quorum Court meet.
The action followed the recommendation of the Solid Waste Committee, which met June 20 with the Law Enforcement Committee to discuss the shortage of community service workers to help with trash and recycling duties.
Solid Waste Supervisor Garry Cooper and Recycling Plant Manager Larry Scott said they are struggling to complete trash and recycling routes due to the lack of community service workers. Cooper also said that some of the community service workers are physically unable to handle the required duties.
At this joint meeting, County Judge Robert Griffin suggested that curbside pickup be temporarily suspended until the labor shortage issue is resolved. The Solid Waste Committee voted to do that and the full quorum court also approved the suspension.
The halt to curbside pickup only affects rural households. Batesville picks up its own solid waste and delivers the recycling materials to the county recycling center. Residents pay for this service. Newark, Oil Trough and Cushman also pick up their own solid waste.
Judge Griffin said he would deliver his own recyclables to the recycling center and encouraged other rural residents to do the same. He said the county would continue to pick up cardboard and recyclables from city businesses. He said revenue from those sources exceeded $74,000 for the first half of the year.
The recycling program had a net loss of almost $169,000 for the first six months of the year. Griffin said the historical loss has been about $125,000 for half a year. Part of this loss was caused by the reduced value of recycled materials.
Reporting by Bob Qualls