• 61°

Keep taxes low in Boyle County by recycling

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

Boyle County residents need to clean up their act when it comes to what they throw away.

The most shocking part of Tuesday’s budget discussions about the county’s Solid Waste Department concerned the revelation from Director Angela Muncy that Solid Waste employees sometimes have to deal with trash bags containing “personal waste” — Muncy’s diplomatic term for waste that’s more appropriately disposed of in bathrooms.

We can’t imagine what would possess someone to do that and we have to believe it’s an extreme minority of people who do. But putting aside that disgusting spectacle, Muncy made a different point later on that ought to make all Boyle County residents stop and think about what they put in the trash.

“The more recycling we can get people to do, the more our prices go down as far as solid waste,” she told magistrates.

She’s right on the money — pun intended. The county has to pay for every bag of garbage taken to the landfill. It gets paid for every pound of recycling it can sell.

That doesn’t mean recycling turns a profit — it costs the county around $58,000 a year on average. But that cost is pennies on the dollar compared to the county’s trash budget and actually represents a huge savings compared to what the bill would be if all recyclable trash was just trashed instead.

This year and every year for at least the past five years, Boyle County has regained at least $100,000 in revenue from Danville and selling recyclable material thanks to its recycling program. And it’s landed more than half a million dollars worth of recycling grants in that same time.

Since the 2014-15 fiscal year, Boyle County has brought in more than $1.25 million in recycling revenue. All of that offsets costs that would otherwise be paid for by taxpayers.

Recycling presents taxpayers with a unique opportunity to directly impact their own taxes. The better Boyle County residents do at recycling, the less it costs them to have garbage services.

Yes, the convenience centers are touted as “free” for Boyle County residents to use, but they’re only free on the back end when you’re dropping off your trash and recycling. In reality, you already paid for that free service on the front end, through your property taxes and payroll taxes.

More trash costs more money, making it more likely the county will need to raise taxes. Less trash obviously has the opposite effect.

Every time you throw away trash, you’re paying for its disposal with your taxes. Every time you recycle, you still pay, but you pay significantly less. The economic moral of the story is clear: If you want less taxes, recycle more.