What a new 15-year garbage plan means for costs in Butler County

Rumpke trash collector Mike McDonald in July was busy working his route along Millikin St. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Rumpke trash collector Mike McDonald in July was busy working his route along Millikin St. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Under a Butler County Solid Waste Management Plan recently adopted for the next 15 years, fees charged for disposing of trash will rise slightly. Not this year, and not in 2019, but on Jan. 1, 2020.

There’s good news about that fee increase, of 18 cents per ton of disposed waste: Even after it rises from 82 cents per ton to $1 per ton in 2020, the fee will be half what it was early this decade, when it was $2 per ton.

Butler County officials recently approved the plan, as did Hamilton City Council, which as the county’s largest city had veto power over the plan. The solid waste generation fee is a charge that is assessed on all waste that is generated in Butler County and disposed of in Ohio landfills.

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“Butler County Solid Waste District has made strides to reduce the solid-waste generation fee from a high of $2 a ton to $1 a ton in 2013,” said Anne Fiehrer Flaig, director of the Butler County Recycling & Solid Waste District. “We actually had an additional fee reduction again in 2014, bringing the current fee to 82 cents a ton.”

“Our fee reduction was unprecedented in the state of Ohio,” Fiehrer Flaig told Hamilton officials. “We are very cost-conscious, and we are truly able to operate, (and) provide programming to citizens.”

All the programming the district has had during the past 10 years will continue, including reduction of household hazardous waste, collection of Freon-using appliances and an electronic waste program that recycles televisions and other electronics.

“We consider this (2020 increase) a ‘just-in-time’ funding mechanism to ensure that we have sufficient funds to maintain all of the programs that are outlined in the plan,” she told Hamilton officials.

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The plan already has preliminary approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

One significant change in the plan from the past is the district will be required to estimate the greenhouse gases reduced through recycling in the county, Fiehrer Flaig told this media outlet.

“They want us to be able to calculate an impact for that,” Fiehrer Flaig said. “Some people find that controversial, depending on your world view.”

The new plan also gives the waste district the option of adding recycling incentives.

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She also told Hamilton officials she pledged to support any recycling programs Hamilton wants to create, including possibly additional recycling bins in the area where officials wish to create a downtown outdoor refreshment area. The organization also helped with recycling bins near the RiversEdge Amphitheater when that facility was launched, she said.

City officials thanked her for her efforts and indicated they will take her up on her offer to help with recycling downtown.

“I think one of the emphases in this plan will be to work in a greater capacity with the school districts, to help them divert more waste (for recycling) our of the schools,” she said. “We have a mission to do that. We also want to work with our elected officials to help them feel more empowered about implementing additional recycling strategies.”

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The solid-waste district recently started an electronic-waste recycling program for televisions, phones, gaming devices and other electronics: “It’s something we hear from consumers, that they need services for this that is low-cost or no cost,” she said. “We’ll be offering our service free of charge in the month of September, in both Hamilton and Middletown, at Cohen( Recycling).

Butler County Recycling

Here are the goals of Butler County’s recycling program:

  • Goal 1: Ensure adequate infrastructure for residents and businesses to recycle solid waste.
  • Goal 2: Reduce/recycle at least 25 percent of the waste generated by the residential/commercial sector and 66 percent of waste generated by the industrial sector.
  • Goal 3: Provide a web site, resource guide, inventory of available infrastructure, and a speaker or presenter.
  • Goal 4: Provide education, outreach, and technical assistance regarding reduction, recycling composting, reuse and other alternative waste management methods to target audiences.
  • Goal 5: Provide strategies for scrap tires, lead-acid batteries, household hazardous wastes, yard waste, and electronic devices.
  • Goal 6: Explore economic incentives for source reduction and recycling programs.
  • Goal 7: NEW! Evaluate the impact of recycling programs on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Goal 8: Option of providing programs to develop markets for recyclable materials and recycled-content materials.
  • Goal 9: Report annually to Ohio EPA regarding implementation of the District's solid waste management plan.

Source: Butler County Recycling & Solid Waste District