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Okaloosa commissioners pass on money-saving, recycling program

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 02:33 PM CDT
OKALOOSA CO., Fla. -- More recycling, less trash going to landfills and potential savings of $750,000 each year - after a six-month pilot program, a new recycling program in Okaloosa County might have seemed like a slam-dunk. Now the question is why did commissioners vote "no" to keep it from going.

The recycling pilot program was called 1 1 1. One container for trash, one full-size container for recycling, and one pickup a week.

After his neighborhood was part of the pilot program, Mark Blair was sold. "It's one big bin, once a week, it's protected from wind and animals, and to be honest, it's got room for all the recycling we like to put in it," he said.

John Krishack also liked the larger recycling container, but he says one pickup a week wasn't enough for his regular trash.

"They would empty it, Monday night I would put garbage in it, and by Thursday or Friday I would find it would stink, there would possibly be maggots in it," he said.

Overall, a customer satisfaction survey had positive results, and people in the pilot program recycled a lot more. It added up to a projected savings of $760,000 a year was if the program went county wide.

However, some commissioners had reservations, like Wayne Harris.

"First of all, I have to say in all disclosure, I think this sustainability crap is nothing but crap," Wayne Harris.

His personal opinion aside, Harris said his real hang-up was money. After negotiations with Waste Management, each household would have saved a $1.48 a month.

Three commissioners said that wasn't good enough for just one pickup a week and that is what killed the deal for them.

Okaloosa resident Chris Cadogan couldn't believe it. "If it costs me a dollar more, I don't care. I think keeping all of that out of the landfill is a big deal," Cadogan said.

The county will have to meet a state mandate of 75 percent recycling by the year 2020.

Commissioners left the door open for the future. Some thought they might be able to negotiate a better deal at the end of Waste Management's contract in 2016.Okaloosa commissioners pass on money-saving, recycling program


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