Mandatory trash collection for all Guilford County residents could help bag some of the county's garbage problems, based on recommendations an environmental advisory board made Monday to the Board of Commissioners.
The group recommended that the county implement countywide garbage pick-up - which would require the 70,000 residents in unincorporated areas to have their trash hauled away.About 45,500 of those 70,000 residents pay private haulers $11 a month for garbage collection.
But another 24,500 residents don't use a service, which means they are illegally dumping their garbage, putting it in commercial bins, burning it or burying it. Mandatory collection would reduce dumping, but that effort alone won't be enough to solve the county's solid waste problems.
The advisory board also recommended that the county immediately establish a recycling program to serve unincorporated Guilford County.
All counties are under a 1993 state deadline to reduce by 25 percent the garbage going to their landfills. About three-quarters of it is supposedly generated by business and industry.
The advisory board recommended that waste haulers and other business representatives form a temporary committee to determine exactly how much waste they generate, which will help county officials calculate how to reduce it.
The commissioners delayed action on the recommendations until Aug. 5, but two of them - Dean Dull and Calvin Hinshaw - said in interviews they oppose mandatory garbage collection. Chuck Forrester, Jim Kirkpatrick, Jackie Manzi and Chairman Steve Arnold said they are undecided.
Katie Dorsett was absent.
The issues for commissioners to determine are whether they'd hire private garbage haulers to provide mandatory pick-up - a more likely option than the county providing the service itself.
The commissioners would also have to determine how to pay for the service, which could mean they absorb the cost of the pick-up or require residents to pay for the service themselves.
The cost to residents concerns some of the undecided commissioners; and the authority of a mandate worries others.
The commissioners will try to iron out some of those problems next month. The advisory board recommended that the commissioners reactivate a joint committee of Guilford County, Greensboro and High Point staff members to assess and define the state requirements.
Much of the report was endorsed by several county environmental groups - the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and Citizens for Waste Reduction and Recycling, as well as the League of Women Voters.
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