Saline County residents mixed on "mandatory" recycle program

George Beyers, Benton and Katherina Yancy, Channel Seven

(KATV) Saline County - By this time next year more than 20,000 Saline County residents will have curbside recycling. In 2010, the solid waste plan stated the county would implement curbside recycling in the near future, that was three years ago and officials say they are ready to go green.

While some residents are on board, others are hesitant and say this should have been put up for a vote.

George Beyers has 17, 55-gallon barrels for recycling lined up on his property. He makes a profit and has helped the church he attends make money from recycled tin to build wells for third world countries. "A lot of people do recycle already and they just don't want to be forced into doing something they can't control."

At 73 years old, Beyers says he physically can't walk recycle bins up and down his 200 foot drive way, plus "You are looking at paper, aluminum, glass and plastic. I do more than that. I support mine even further and I get good money for my scrap that I sell."

Michael Grappe' is the executive director for the Saline County Regional Solid Waste Management District. He says, "Impact Management out of Little Rock did a poll for us in May and 80-percent of the population wanted curb side recycling."

Grappe' explains the confusion the word "mandatory" has stirred. "I will provide you with the recycle bin as well as the solid waste bin. It's your choice whether you want to participate in recycling or not. What is mandatory is you have to pay your bill."

That means a lean against your property and you can't renew your license or pay taxes until it is current.

Grappe' says the bundled cost of trash and recycling will be lower than what residents are currently paying by roughly 5-dollars because the trash routes will be updated and made more efficient. Rather than the now 30 hauling companies in the district, using one business will help the price drop dramatically.

Not all cities in Saline County will be in the program. For now, it is the cities represented by the board. They are Shannon Hills, Alexander, Bryant, Benton and Haskell. If another city wants to join, they can appeal to the board to be included.

Beyers says he'll be at the public hearings to get more details. "Absolutely, I will be there and a lot of other people will be there too."

The first public input meeting is on July 9 in Benton at the OEM 911 building. The second will be at Bishop Park in Bryant on July 23.

The goal is to implement the curbside recycling by April 2014.