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China Grove Town Council votes to discontinue recycling services

CHINA GROVE – Because of increasing costs, the Town Council on Monday night chose to discontinue municipal recycling services, which are currently contracted to North Davidson Garbage Service and Recycling, a company that has been sold to GFL Environmental.

Services under North Davidson will continue until the end of contract, Dec. 31.

“In a ballpark figure, if we continue recycling after July, it will cost us an additional $106,000. If we simply go and throw everything away, it’s roughly $21,000,” said Town Manager Ken Deal.

The current collection fees are $8.50 per month per household. GFL Environmental would have raised the fee to $9.50 per trash cart per month for weekly pickup.

“It’s going to be difficult to continue services, but even GFL Environmental has told us that they’re going to have to take a new strategy on how they present recycling,” Deal said. “Unfortunately for us being a small town, we’re looking at 3- to 5-cent increase just to recycle. What we need to decide now is what we want to do and how do we want to do it effectively.”

Mayor Lee Withers said issues associated with recycling are “much bigger than just China Grove.” China added restrictions on plastics it accepts last year, and municipalities in the county have been forced to adapt as a result.

“A lot of our recycling is going to China. China won’t take it anymore. Third-world countries don’t want to recycle anymore,” said Councilman Charles Seaford. “We’re just paying high-dollar prices to send stuff to the landfill.”

The question goes beyond simply doing the right thing, Deal said.

“Do we really know that it is going into the recycling center because of how much contamination is happening?” Deal asked.

Councilman Steve Stroud said the town just doesn’t have the money to pay for recycling.

Deal said residents need to know that “the council has reached out and done everything that they could and looked at every alternative.”

“We’ve looked at all kinds of ‘what ifs’ and none of those are feasible right now,” Deal said. “You want to do the right thing, but it comes down to dollars and cents until we get some more bids.”

In other business:

• Darrell Harwood presented a $50,000 check to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society raised at his annual Stand Together Music Festival, which he sponsors.

• The board discussed priorities about spending for parks and pecreation and plans to apply for an N.C. PARTF grant. The council discussed possible plans for investing about $200,000 in the China Grove Community Building, upfits to parks off Walnut Street and Mitchell Avenue, and increasing investments in ongoing programs.

• Vice President Scott Shelton and President Rod Crider of the Rowan County Economic Development Commission discussed the agency’s “investment policy” that works to improve industries in China Grove, expand businesses and retain jobs that are at a risk of being lost.

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