CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha County Recycling Task Force is closer to finalizing a recommendation to resolve the county's recycling crisis.
Members of the task force met Wednesday to discuss scenarios that could help turn around the county's recycling problems, which escalated when the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority closed the Slack Street recycling center in March.
The recruiting of a solely private firm to operate the county's recycling operations was ruled out Wednesday, leaving the task force to further dissect a public or public/private option.
"Going fully private just isn't an option at this point. It's the least feasible option we have," said Matt Ballard, Charleston Area Alliance president and chief executive officer.
Board members agreed the private option, which would create a "drop off only" center and leave the Solid Waste Authority as an educational entity only, was too big of a financial risk and would lead to low recycling participation rates.
The task force's public plan would include utilizing the Slack Street location and either renovating the existing building or building a new facility on the property.
Estimated renovation costs at the site are about $500,000, while building a new facility at an alternate location would be nearly $4.4 million.
The public plan would continue use of existing equipment and team up with local businesses to establish pickup centers, which would ensure an increase in tonnage and a stable profit, said Joe Tucker, Charleston Area Medical Center recycling director, who researched the proposal.
"We are looking at the same property with a different layout, which, with extended loan options and partnerships with businesses, could generate much more profit than we're seeing now," he said.
If the Kanawha County Waste Authority continues to do things the way it is now, it will run out of cash within six months, Tucker said.
"I think we can put in a viable public plan in place that will work with the municipalities," he said.
A public/private partnership alternative was also discussed, which would secure a donated site for a new recycling center and drop-off locations in areas such as Cross Lanes, Quincy, Southridge and Sissonville.
The bidder of the property would be required to lease and operate the facility, and the county's municipalities would participate and list approximate amounts for each recycling item.