Chesterfield County has begun rolling out its plan to transition to a new privatized model, allowing residents to choose among four waste-hauling companies to handle their recycling in addition to their solid-waste pickup. During the Board of Supervisors’ work session, John H. Neal Jr., director of general services for Chesterfield County, recapped the history of the county’s recycling program. In 1991, the county began offering recycling services after joining the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, which coordinated a single contracted company to manage collection and transfer of recyclables.

From its beginning to 2010, Chesterfield included the cost of the program in annual taxes, and in 2010, the county implemented a $25 fee per household to offset program costs in the midst of a recession. At that point, households could opt out of the program – either choosing not to recycle or visiting one of two county drop-off locations. Last year, the county board raised the fee to $40 to meet rising costs. Neal and other administrators last week explained that a renewed contract with CVWMA – because of the evolving markets for recyclable commodities – would soon prove economically unwieldy for the county and subscribing households. The authority’s running contract for recycling pickup and processing has largely been carried by Chesapeake-based Tidewater Fibre Corporation.

Kim Hines, executive director of CVWMA, noted that Chesterfield will remain aligned with the authority in functions that go beyond simply residential recycling services “Although the county is taking a little bit different approach than historically to the residential recycling program,” she told the board, “we will continue our partnership with the county on supporting recycling, increasing waste diversion through education and outreach.”

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Author: Jack Cooksey, Chesterfield Observer
Image: Ash Daniel, Chesterfield Observer