Weiser recycling center can't break even

by Steve Lyon
It was disappointing to hear that the
Evelyn Stover Recycling Center will
close at the end of the month.
WICAP took over operations at the
Weiser site last October as
a community service. Since
then, prices for recycled
items have dropped – really
dropped.
Steve Morningstar, with
WICAP, emailed me on
Tuesday morning with news
that the nonprofit would
have to close the center.
WICAP couldn’t continue
to lose money for items that
really don’t have much of a
market these days.
Morningstar said he gave
it the old college try but
couldn’t make it work. Kudos to him
and WICAP for doing what they could
for as long as they did. The dollars and
cents are just not there to break even any
more. It’s impossible to get volunteers to
work for nothing and Morningstar can’t
spend his days at the center.
He told me other communities and
counties with recycling programs are
also seeing recycling revenue dry up and
cutting costs where they can.
It’s too bad. I know a lot of people
who are meticulous recyclers of just
about everything. Maybe they can still
go to Ontario or stop by Fruitland to recyle
stuff.
Recycling still makes
sense even if it doesn’t make
any money. Keeping stuff
out of the landfill is a good
thing to do. All the trash collected
in Weiser and Washington
County is trucked, at
your expense, to the Clay
Peak Landfill in Payette
County.
Plus, it’s a benefit if some
items can be pulled out of
the trash stream and then
turned into other products or
reused.
At one point I thought they were using
recycled plastic to make durable fencing
and even plastic-based picnic tables. It
helped assuage my guilt over buying
bottled water at the store in single use
plastic containers.
China won’t take our plastic any
longer so those gallon bottles I buy of
the finest H2O from a deep underground
source go to the landfill. The problem
with plastic is it never biodegrades. It is
a petroleum-based product that doesn’t
break down.
I suppose I could buy bottled water
in Ontario and feel better about it with
the point-of-purchase tax. They charge a
deposit in Oregon as an incentive to recycle
at one of those bottle drop places.
It’s either an incentive of a dime to get
you to recycle or it’s a penalty, whichever
way you want to look at it.
American ingenuity can certainly find
new uses for what we casually discard
without a second thought. There has
to be a profit motive to get industry or
someone excited, though.
There is a company that is making
picnic utensils out of old avocado seeds.
They, of course, will decompose over
time. Another entrepreneur is making
those beer six-pack holders out of a biodegradable
material instead of plastic.
Those are both brilliant ideas.
The loss of recycling raises a question
to ponder. Are people willing to pay to
recycle? If so, how much are they willing
to pay? With prices for commodities
down, it looks like the only way to make
recycling work is by subsidizing it.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at

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Weiser, ID 83672
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