County eliminates single-stream recycling program

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners voted Tuesday, March 3 to eliminate the single-stream recycling program at the Dufort solid waste collection site, based on a recommendation from the county’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

Solid Waste Director Bob Howard presented the committee’s recommendation to the commissioners at the board’s regular Tuesday business meeting. He said single-stream recycling — launched as a pilot program in Bonner County in 2017 — cost the ratepayers just over $83,000 during the 2019 fiscal year, coming out to about $115 per ton. In comparison, trash disposal cost about $82 per ton in 2019, equaling a difference of $33 per ton.

Howard said people were depositing household waste into the single-stream bin, contaminating the batch and making all of the contents unfit for recycling. However, the cost to have the contents processed as single-stream recycling still had to be paid — even if it was all just thrown in the trash in the end.

With the elimination of the single-stream program at Dufort, the site will go back to offering only aluminum, paper and cardboard recycling, like the other waste collection sites across the county.

“Taxpayers in the county [were] paying that extra cost,” said Commissioner Dan McDonald. “We still have recycling — like we always have — but we just won’t have single-stream [recycling].”

Howard said his department might adopt another program to accommodate the recycling of other materials in the future.

“We’re always looking for different solutions to do better with recycling and solid waste,” he said.

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