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Butler County Solid Waste District seeks more recycling in new plan

Hamilton Journal News - 5/31/2024

May 31—The Butler County Solid Waste District is seeking approval from communities across the county on the five-year update to the district's 15-year plan that seeks an increase in recycling.

Every county in Ohio has a solid waste management plan, which is required by the Ohio Revised Code. The Butler County Solid Waste Management Plan was vetted through the district's policy committee from January to July 2023 and was reviewed by the Ohio EPA last August.

The public had the chance to comment on the plan from Feb. 5 to March 5, and the seven-member policy committee adopted the plan on March 26. Now the Butler County Solid Waste District is in the 90-day ratification period during which communities have until July 8 to vote on the adoption of the plan.

The solid waste policy committee will certify the plan, which historically has received overwhelming support, by mid-July. It's due to the Ohio EPA in February 2025.

While Butler County Solid Waste District Director Anne Fiehrer Flaig said she's seeking approval from all jurisdictions, she said she does "very much rely on your (Hamilton Council's) vote and approval of this plan" given Hamilton has veto power as the largest municipality in the county.

The Butler County Solid Waste District is funded by waste being deposited in Ohio. Nearly 80% of Butler County's waste stays in the state with the remaining going to Kentucky and Indiana. About two-thirds of Butler County's waste goes to the Rumpke landfill in Colerain Twp.

"The district is in excellent financial shape," Fiehrer Flaig said. "We have seen steady revenues from our solid waste generation fee, which is $1 per ton, which translates to about $1.36 per household per year."

That equates to being the second-lowest rate among solid waste districts that have a solid waste generation fee in Ohio. The district will consider a 25 cent per ton increase, but that will be addressed in the next five-year update, and it's tentative at this point.

"We will revisit that before the next plan update is issued, so you're not approving any fee change," she said. "This is a very cost-effective and cost-conscious funding mechanism that we have as a solid waste district."

A key aspect of this plan update is the push to increase recycling in Butler County.

Hamiltonians recycled more than 2,300 tons in 2023, which is a rate of about 8%, according to the district. That's below Fairfield, which had a 12% recycling rate in 2023.

Most residents across Butler County recycle at the curb versus visiting one of the 26 drop-off locations around the county.

The solid waste management plan shows that at least 84% of the county's population (the 2024 estimated Butler County population is 397,358) do recycle, but they're seeking to have more participation.

She said her office is working with West Chester and Liberty townships to contract combination service (trash and recycling) for every household "because, as you know, these are like cities, they're mega townships. That's part of the agenda for this solid waste plan, is to move the bar on the service model, and we're actively engaged in that process right now."

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(c)2024 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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