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Murray Officials Seek Solutions to Costly Recycling Program

Matt Markgraf, WKMS news

Recycling in Murray is costing its residents more than it is saving. That’s according to Street and Solid Waste Manager Ron Allbritten in a City Council presentation Thursday night.

Allbritten said the City isn’t collecting enough recyclables to pay the bills required to maintain the current system. He said the city is losing more than $22,000 a year.

“Right now we are only removing one percent. The state in 1997 set up a goal of 25 percent reduction in waste stream.” Allbritten said.

In order to break even, Allbritten estimates at least a truck load of materials would be needed a day for market sale. Right now, recyclables collected amount to only 6 trucks a year, he said.

Transporting the product contributes to most of the cost. But, Allbritten said people have also been tossing trash into the mix of recyclables, devaluing the materials.

City Council members asked if a co-op with surrounding counties could help with costs by increasing the amount of product delivered for sale. Allbritten said he had considered a co-op and would investigate more options.

Councilman Wesley Bolin asked if curbside recycling is a favorable option. Bolin said several constituents had suggested an interest in the service.

Albritten said estimates on curbside recycling are also underway. Mayor Jack Rose says a solution might not be one residents will opt to financially support.

Rose asked Allbritten and the council to give considerable thought towards the costs and how it could be remedied.

"Typically two heads are better than one. And we have 18 thousand people in Murray. If we get 18 thousand heads together, I'm sure we can come up with a solution," said Allbritten.  "I'm open for all kinds of suggestions." 

Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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