Rome and Floyd County officials want residents to continue recycling, but they’re still working on the best way to handle the materials in the future.
An issue with the recycling program is that it relies on county prison labor crews hand-sorting the recyclables, County Manager Jamie McCord said — and that process could end up harming the workers.
“This is an important operation and we know we need to do it,” McCord said. “You just don’t know what’s coming in, what’s contaminated. If (COVID-19) gets in the prison, we’ve got a problem.”
Since the new coronavirus can live on hard surfaces for up to three days, he said, there’s an increased chance of that spreading to a prison inmate. If an infected inmate goes back into the enclosed space, the virus could wreak havoc.
“The way it’s set up ... there is no way to social distance appropriately,” McCord said.
Many of the prison labor crews have been shifted to sanitizing other county buildings where employees are continuing to work.
At this point, May 18 is the target date to resume activity at the recycling center off Lavender Drive. McCord said they hope to be able to open the center for public drop off of recyclables around June 1.
Another option, floated at the Joint 天天乐棋牌 Committee by Mayor Bill Collins, is to bring in a private partner to collect the materials.
He suggested Marglen Industries on Ward Mountain Road for plastics and Rome-based Paper Recovery of Georgia for cardboard and paper items.
“At what point in time does the taxpayer have the responsibility to go through this process of tying up all this manpower and all the expenses associated with it and it never makes sense financially,” said City Commissioner Craig McDaniel.
“How long do we want to try to continue to sustain something that is never, ever going to make sense financially?” he said.
County Commissioner Wright Bagby said McDaniel’s point is valid, but recycling “is the right thing to do.”
“It’s better for the environment and its probably always going to cost us something,” Bagby said. “If our markets hadn’t changed, we would be thinking about this in a different light.”
He and Collins also pointed out the large investment the city and county have in the new recycling center.
“We need to take a hard look at how we can take advantage (of the recycling center) and keep that in the picture,” Collins said.
A Household Hazardous Waste recycling collection event which had been scheduled for May 16 has already been canceled.