Columbia County officials are waiting to hear residents' views on a potential county-operated recycling program.
County Engineer Miguel Valentin said surveys went out with water bills this month to residents and businesses to gauge support of a program.
The results of the surveys combined with findings of a study of potential costs for recycling programs will lead to several options and recommendations that Valentin said will then be presented to the county commission.
"They do not have any concrete plans," Valentin said. "What they have basically asked us to do is investigate the feasibility of a program and the costs of the various elements of a program, then present the findings to them. Then they will decide which element of the program they might incorporate."
The survey includes questions about the resident's or business' current recycling efforts, what items could be recycled if a county program existed and how convenient accumulating and storing recyclable items would be.
Some private companies that offer regular waste pick-up for residential customers also offer recycling pick-up.
The 311 Customer Services and Information Center receives a relatively small but steady number of calls from residents about nearby recycling facilities or providers and where they can take such recyclable items as newspapers, magazines and oil, said Cheryl Garcia, the 311 center supervisor.
Garcia said she expects to see the number of called-in recycling questions to rise since the survey went out and because of warming weather.
"It is springtime and people are doing their spring cleaning," Garcia said. "They want to know where to take their stuff."
Valentin said drop-off sites, curbside recycling and public education are elements that will be considered as possibilities for a recycling program.
"All of those elements are sort of on the table," he said, adding that a recycling facility requires a large volume to make it affordable. "Justification for a facility is very difficult to achieve on an individual county basis."
Valentin said he hopes to have compiled the survey information by the end of April and have feasible recycling options and their costs ready to present to commissioners in May or June.
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