Julie Moore Pike County Workshop

Julie Moore

LOUISIANA – Communities across Pike County are coming to terms with the same question: how far are they willing to go to preserve residents’ ability to recycle close to home?

In Louisiana, the trailers previously provided and serviced by Pike Sheltered Workshop will probably disappear as of the end of the month, as the City Council considers its options.

Julie Moore, the director of Pike County Shop, briefed the council on those options and the broader situation facing the organization, which provides work for people with developmental disabilities.

The bottom has fallen out from the international market for recycled goods, prompted by the decision of China, the leading market for to-be-recycled material, to staunch the flow.

In Pike County, that means the trailer, previously provided for free, would have started to cost $275 a month as of September — an intimidating charge for the cash-strapped City of Louisiana.

“That’s basically the cost of the labor, the fuel to come and get it, to clean it out and to bring it back twice a week,” Moore said.

The city could otherwise opt the whole city into a curb-side recycling program, at the cost of $1 a week per household for a two-bag-a-week program or 50 cents a week for one bag.

That cost would be added to every city water bill, with the city handling the billing and getting three percent of the revenue to cover its costs.

The city could also opt for a voluntary curbside program, with individuals purchasing bags and leaving them out. For that program to be viable, Moore said, at least 250 residents would need to participate each week.

A survey distributed with water bills indicated a level of interest in Louisiana well below that number.

The issue has been referred to Councilman Rodney Dolbeare’s Transportation, Infrastructure and Entreprise Committee — leaving the city at a loose ends in the interim.

Council members said at the meeting that the reaction to the lapse in service might suggest how interested Louisiana really was in a recycling program.

Recyclables can still be dropped off for no charge at the Pike County Shop location in Bowling Green.

Elsewhere in Pike County Eolia and Frankford have opted to pay for the trailers, and Curryville was set to vote on the issue Monday night, Moore said.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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