Baldwin County Commissioners decided not to move forward with curbside recycling Thursday because they weren’t sure it could pay for itself and they weren’t willing to subsidize it.
Adding the service to regular garbage pickup could be done for $10 more per month if 2,400 customers signed up, said Terri Graham, the county’s solid waste director. It’s possible the service could break even, she said, but that would depend on how many people enrolled. The estimates hinge on the county having one recycling truck operating four days a week on a different pickup route each day.
“Our charge is to collect garbage in Baldwin County,” said Commission Chairman Chris Elliott during a work session in Fairhope. The Legislature requires a recycling component to garbage service, and there are drop-off sites throughout the county.
Commissioner Frank Burt asked if curbside recycling would have to be offered to all county customers. One group of customers in one part of the county might be large enough to pay for themselves, but a second, smaller group on the opposite side the county might cost money to serve, he said.
“I just don’t see how it could work. I really don’t,” he said.
Elliott agreed. “We will never make money if we’re running from Little River to Ono Island and everywhere in between.”
Baldwin County Attorney David Conner said it was likely that all customers would have to be offered the option; the county could not pick and choose only places that might be profitable.