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County Supervisors Discuss Recycling

By Staff | Feb 26, 2008

Palo Alto County Environmental Services Director Joe Neary briefed Palo Alto County Supervisors on a new recycling initiative for county residents during a meeting Tuesday, Feb. 19. However, the initiative generated some skepticism during the discussion.

“We are starting a new project in the county called ‘Palo Alto County Recycles’, which is an ongoing project designed to reduce the amount of waste we are sending to the Northern Plains Regional Landfill,” Neary explained in his introduction. “Palo Alto County Solid Waste, along with Miriam Patton, the Conservation Board’s Naturalist, are partnering to develop and coordinate various activities to get residents in the county to recycle.”

According to Neary, the City of Spencer, as owners of the landfill south of Graettinger, have grant funds available through the state of Iowa’s Solid Waste Tax fund to be used for education programs that would enhance waste reduction.

“Any funds that we spend on our educational programs and the like will be reimbursed by the City of Spencer through these funds,” Neary noted. “We have $22,000 available for our waste reduction education and related activities.”

Neary pointed out that among the activities will be surveys of businesses, schools, governmental offices and individual consumers to assess recycling practices. Neary also noted that the campaign has started with some advertising to encourage recycling in local newspapers.

“Once we see where we are at, then we can set some goals for our recycling,” Neary said. “Basically, we are going to build a program from scratch, so we will be a work in progress.”

“Is all this economical?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan. “I guess I think ads and educational things are kind of a waste of money for this.”

“Well, we’re going to prove you wrong,” Neary responded.

“I agree to a certain extend,” Supervisor Ron Graettinger spoke up. “You can tell people to recycle all you want, but they’ll only do it if they want to do it.”

“See, that’s what we’re facing and that’s why we’re going to do the educational activities,” Neary explained. “One of our biggest issues is going to be making recycling more convenient.”

“Well, if it’s not economical to recycle, then why spend the money on it?” Noonan asked.

“We need to make people more aware of recycling first off,” Neary said. “If we can make it more convenient for the public, then hopefully they will embrace it and we can begin reducing our tonnage into the landfill, which is our overall goal.”

Neary indicated that his office is looking into recycling containers and receptacles, as well as drop-off points around the county.

“Again, this is a work in progress and I will keep you informed of our activities,” Neary said as the discussion concluded.