Bath Board divided over Glass Recycling
It’s a beautiful thing when the most hotly debated item at a local government meeting is recycling. When the Bath County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday evening several members of the public expressed concern that the county was considering removing glass from its recycling program. Recycling is rarely cost-effective, and especially as demand for the various materials rises and falls. When states started mandating certain percentages of locality’s solid waste be recycled each year, small communities where household recycling isn’t part of a “culture of stewardship” became hard-pressed to meet those standards. Bath administrator, Ashton Harrison, explained that if it were not for the county’s small businesses that recycle, and the tires generated by the independent garages, we would not be able to meet the mandate at all. He is also concerned about the cost to the county of hauling tons of glass, and recommended discontinuing that service. Board members’ discussion included the need for increased public awareness about the importance of recycling, and how much we rely on our youth to develop new habits. Stuart Hall and Richard Bird then voted in favor of taking away glass recycling, and Claire Collins and Eddie Hicklin were opposed. Bart Perdue was absent. As a result of the tie vote, no action will be taken, and the county will work with local garden clubs, media, and the school system to help families and small businesses use recycling as routine part of housekeeping. Even those supervisors who are regular recyclers themselves admitted developing and maintaining new habits is hard. During public comment, listeners followed the discussion about recycling grow naturally into the need for stronger waste management all around.
Steven Hiner of Mountain Grove,
“Most of us here, who grew up in Bath County, we’re from the mindset, I believe it’s called the Scotch-Irish school of thought of Appalachia. We’re not going to change much. We need our youth, our children to change our thoughts. We have to think beyond our existence here in Bath County.”
Cliff Gilchrest of Millboro cited the longstanding bottle bill in Vermont and Washington state as some of the reason those roadsides are in such good condition.
Emily Plecker, Williamsville district, and executive director of the Bath Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber coordinates regularly with Virginia Department of Transportation for roadside pick-up. County residents can have free large, sturdy orange trash bags from the Chamber in Warm Springs, and VDOT will pick them up as needed. Liz Knapp, of Warm Springs encouraged the public to come to a presentation on Recycling at the Bath county Library on June 25th. Trudy Woodzell, Cedar Creek District commented on responsible disposal of materials other than recyclables.
“At one time we did have Amnesty Day in the county. People brought paint; people brought batteries, and that’s stuff’s all going to the dumpster now. I know it’s expensive to do that day, but maybe we have to look at that day again as well. If we’re willing to spend eight-thousand dollars to haul glass out of here, we may need to do an Amnesty Day to haul batteries, and paint or electronics out of here as well. “
Two items were also approved to receive public comment at the Supervisors’ July meeting. Those will be 1., enacting a penalty for knowingly leaving a dumpster open and 2., approval of a tax rate for dwellings that are ready for occupancy prior to the next assessment date. The Bath Board of Supervisors next meeting is July 11th at 7:00.