Despite its ongoing desire to adopt environmentally-friendly practices, Tooele County officials will discuss plans to sell and outsource the county landfill’s limited in-house recycling operation.
The county has slated the fate of the landfill’s recyclables sort line, where temporary workers separate re-usable materials from household waste, for discussion at tonight’s regularly scheduled county commission meeting. Their intent, Commissioner Shawn Milne said, is to put the sort line up for sale.
Though born of good intentions, Milne said the sort line has become a sizable monthly expense that brings little benefit to county residents. The county still owes more than $400,000 on the line’s purchase, and costs a little less than $20,000 a month to operate.
However, the operation — which Milne said he understood was sold to the county as a way to bring in a little additional revenue — brings in between $1,500 to $4,000 a month from the sale of recyclable materials.
The line would still likely fall short of turning a profit, or breaking even, in the best-case scenario, which would increase the total volume coming through the line by bringing Tooele and Grantsville cities on board with the operation, said Milne.
“We don’t see that there is any way we will come even close to breaking even,” he said. And even though the county still owes a large sum on the line’s initial purchase, he said, “we will never catch up.”
Milne said the county not only plans to sell the line, but may even be willing to sell the hardware at a loss to bring the monthly expenses to an end.
However, the county has no plans to end recycling services for residents, the commissioner said. Instead of sorting and selling recyclables by itself, the county has worked out an arrangement with Allied, the company that already does trash pick-up for the county, to have potentially recyclable household waste shipped to Salt Lake for separation and sale.
Residential fees will not increase, and residents should not notice any significant change in service, Milne said.
Likewise, he noted, the sale should not result in any changes for county employees. The temporary workers who currently run the line will continue to work for their temp agency, but not for the county.