Recycling to increase; the issue is: Who will pay for added cost?
In the long run, we are confident the amount of recycling in Blount County will increase significantly. The question: Who will pay for the increasing costs caused by increased volume?
City of Alcoa offers its residents curbside recycling service.
City of Maryville for more than a decade has provided convenient recycling centers within the city, paid for out of the city’s $2.17 per $100 of assessed value property tax rate which city residents pay in addition to also paying the $2.15 per $100 of assessed value Blount County property tax.
Blount County does not offer any recycling service.
Woodby Recycling, a private company, offers weekly curbside recycling service throughout the county and cities for $12 per month. It has about 400 customers and is also growing.
Since the beginning of the Maryville service, which originally required separation of items to be recycled by type, it has allowed Blount residents from outside the city to use the city service free of charge. A survey indicated that approximately one-half of recycled items in the Maryville system are placed there by non-city residents, leaving city of Maryville residents paying for a nonexistent county service.
About a year ago, Maryville moved to a single-stream system which accepts plastic, glass bottles, metal, aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, phone books, mixed paper and flattened cardboard. ROCKTenn, a Knox recycler, picks up the recyclables and hauls them to Knoxville where they are separated. While this system is more efficient, it has greatly increased use of the city of Maryville’s recycling centers with half of the use now coming from non-city residents.
There is no question that recycling will continue to increase considerably in the days ahead. No action has been taken yet but the matter was discussed at a work session of City Fathers. The city of Maryville, like Blount County government, has had numerous budget and personnel reductions to meet difficult times. It is unlikely the city can continue to leave the centers open to non-city residents.
Maryville is considering reducing hours, locations and the cost of stationing personnel at its centers to allow only city residents to use them unless other options of financial support of the rapidly growing practice are offered.
While we don’t know of any resident opposed to recycling, even if you were, recycling keeps a lot of material out of the county landfill taking it longer to fill up, reducing future costs.