The Effingham County community has an excellent opportunity to positively impact the local environment with the setting of a Tipping Fee amount by the Effingham County Board on Monday, July 15.

The Tipping Fee was approved by the Effingham County Board in 2012. What we need now is to establish the monetary amount of the Tipping Fee.

The Tipping Fee is a small charge, perhaps $1.25 per ton, that waste haulers would pay to the local landfill (Effingham County’s landfill is Landfill 33) when dropping the load at the landfill. The landfill then provides those funds to the county to be used for the environment. I said “small amount” because the average citizen produces 4.4 pounds of waste per day, which is approximately 1,606 pounds of personal trash to the landfill per year according to the U.S. EPA. That translates to about a dollar per person per year. Businesses dispose of more trash per year. The Tipping Fee would encourage businesses to seek out ways to dispose of less trash and provide them another opportunity to support environmental projects in our community. This mechanism provides a way for businesses to assist the local environment in addition to any ways businesses currently use.

The net proceeds of the Tipping Fee are to be used for opportunities for environmental improvement. Effingham Recycles suggests that the Tipping Fee funds could be used in the following categories:

A. Educational program grants to organizations, such as schools, senior centers, Boy Scouts, 4-H, nature centers, and libraries, to support environmental education for all ages.

B. Community services could provide funding to support electronic waste recycling events, glass recycling drives, hazardous waste collection events, and yard waste drop-off locations.

C. Recycling subsidies to recycling efforts and new opportunities for local recycling services.

D. Administrative costs to manage the fees that incurred for the environmental programs.

The recycling market is currently limited by the current world economics, thus the various changes to the recycling efforts at Centenary United Methodist Church, the Teutopolis Catholic Church, and others (see Centenary United Methodist Church, Effingham Recycles, Effingham Public Library, and other websites for the products currently recycled locally).

We can do much more. Recycling is only one element of the environmental efforts we can make. We can REDUCE the amount of plastics and other products we purchase and use, we can REUSE items we purchase and use, we can REBUY by purchasing used items and post-recycled items, we can RETHINK by considering what we purchase and use, and many similar strategies. The Tipping Fee will help us with each of those strategies.

I encourage those of you in Effingham County to consider contacting your County Board Members to express your interest in setting an amount for the Tipping Fee to benefit the environment of Effingham County. I’d also encourage you to attend the Effingham County Board meeting on Monday, July 15th at 4:00.

Bill Totten

Member of Effingham Recycles

Member of Effingham Centenary United Methodist Church