Plastic recycling still at issue as county seeks buyer
With a drop in the oil market, it’s been hard times trying to find a buyer for Polk County’s recycled plastic bottles.
Since fall 2015, the county has been pursuing different companies to take on their plastic recyclables and even paper products as well, without much luck.
“Petroleum prices are so low right now there’s no benefit to using recycled plastics,” McElwee explained. “So it’s not cost effective for companies to take it in right now, and even if they do they won’t take it in without being bailed together.”
One solution proposed to the problem: the county should buy a bailer. But it’s much more than just purchasing equipment and setting it up. The machinery will need a building to be housed in, and special electrical requirements are needed to ensure operations.
If pursued, the county would likely setup a metal barn for the bailer at the Highway 278 Convenience Center, only being operated when
However, $25,000 is a hefty price tag to bundle together plastic bottles no one want to purchase at the moment, county manager Matt Denton said.
Instead, he sought other ideas and solutions at the county’s first public works committee meeting of 2016.
After a long discussion on whether purchasing the bailer was even feasible, Public Works director Michael Gravett suggested discussing the problem with city and county run recycling facilities in Rome and Paulding County.
“It would likely generate them some incidential amount of revenue, and if all we have to do is take it to them it might be something they’d be interest in doing,” he said.
Meanwhile, the coun- ty is trying to hold onto the plastic if possible and keep it from ending up in the landfill.
Ulimtately, the problem comes down to finding a space to keep surplus plastic until a solution can be found, otherwise it will end up in the same place as other trash.
Commissioner Ray Barber, head of the public works committee, said that no matter what solution is found for finding a home for the plastic, the county should continue to allow people who want to see their bottles and containers taken care of to dump them in appropriate containers.
“We need to let people put it in the bins, take care of those bins, and let people know that we’re going to take care of it,” he said.
The HON Company and Keep Polk Beautiful have expressed interest in assisting the county with the project should the county get a bailer for plastic. Specifically The HON Company said they would donate a forklift for moving bundles of plastic around any facility constructed, Denton said.
Denton said the county will continue to report progress toward finding a solution to finding a recycler willing to take in the plastic.
FILE - Polk County has been asking residents not to drop off recycled plastics in previous months as it has sought a solution.