Trashy people hurt recycling program

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By Lou Elliott Jones

Cedar Key no longer has a recycling trailer on State Road 24 at County Road 347.
The Raleigh Community, near Williston, lost its recycling trailer — again — after the property owner asked that it be removed.
And the trailer at the Manatee Jiffy may be the next to disappear.
All this comes as the state works to meet a state law mandating that 75 percent of the garbage residents generate be recycled by 2020. In 2010, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection presented a study on state recycling that said residents generated, on average, 2 tons of garbage — or 32 million tons for the entire state in 2010.  It set goals for meeting the mandate according to population.
While Levy County may not have to meet that mandate because it does not meet the 50,000 resident threshold, it is required to actively pursue increasing its percentage of recyclable material.
The recycling trailers are disappearing because some folks will not do the right thing, said Benny Jerrells, director of the Levy County Solid Waste Department. Jerrells said the trailers are meant to be a convenient way for residents to recycle glass, plastics, aluminum and steel cans and paper — including newspapers.The county sells the recyclable materials, but Jerrells said said in the past it is not a money-making operation.
Recyclable items are free of charge — as opposed to the 75 cents per can charge for garbage at the landfill and the garbage pickup charge levied by private services.
And while it might not be convenient, household hazardous waste — such as appliances, microwave ovens, toaster ovens, automotive fluids and fuels, paint, electronics, mercury switches, thermostats and thermometers can be taken to the landfill between 8 a.m. and noon on Wednesdays. The county must pay Clean Harbors to haul the hazardous materials away for reprocessing or storage.
But some folks have been using them as garbage dumpsters.  As a result, residents will have to make a trip to the landfill at 12051 N.E. 69th Lane, off County Road 335, south of Bronson, to participate in the county recycling program.
At the end of May the trailer in Raleigh, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 41 and County Road 335 had garbage bags piled along side it, along with a mattress, old TV and other household items.
The trailer was parked at an unused polling place which the county returned to its original owner recently and the owner asked that the trailer be taken away, Jerrells said.
Elaine Bowers wrote a letter to the Cedar Key Beacon concerning the trailer at SR24 and CR347.
“A few folks who live just off the island and utilize this trailer have inquired as to why this trailer was removed.  A call to County Coordinator Fred Moody this past Monday revealed that it was removed with no immediate intentions of replacing it as he claims there is not only ongoing dumping of TVs, couches and the like (we have all seen this illegal dumping)  but also that the majority of the trailer contents are garbage, not recyclables.  He suggested that those who want to recycle will have to bring them to the Bronson facility,” Bower wrote.
“At this time the county is considering a possible other location for this recycling trailer and a specific day and times for recyclables to be collected with a county employee to supervise the collection.  
You can contact Fred Moody at 352-486-5216 for any updated information as I know there are those in your readership that are interested.”
Kay and Michael Gaither, he a disabled veteran, utilize the trailer by the Manatee Jiffy on County Road 320. She provided pictures of the garbage and household items that cannot be recycled saying the couple did not want to lose the trailer.
“It greatly concerns us because we do not want to lose the convenience of our recycle trailer,” Gaither said.
Jerrells said the couple has reason to be concerned as he is considering pulling the trailer from that site.
For more information, contact Jerrells at 352-486-5129 or 352-486-3300 or via email at lcswlandfill@gmail.com. The solid waste office hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.