A decrease in solid waste as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on Rock Island County's recycling program.
Rock Island County Waste Management (RICWMA) has announced it will discontinue its recycling drop-off program and will close the drop-off sites in Rock Island, Moline, East Moline and Milan. The containers will be permanently removed from the sites Sept. 30.
Curbside recycling collection will continue for all municipal residents on regularly scheduled waste collection days.
RICWMA board members voted to approve closing the drop-off program during the June 21 board meeting, citing a decrease in revenue because of a decrease in solid waste. The dramatic drop in solid waste production can be attributed to businesses being closed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in lower solid waste tonnage, which meant a drop in tipping fees paid to RICWMA at the landfills.
"The board was faced with a decision to cut significant programs from the budget," RICWMA stated in a release Wednesday. "The budget cuts included elimination of the curbside recycling subsidy program and the recycling drop-off program. These programs were eliminated in favor of retaining the Solid Waste Assistance Grant program that provides funds to RICWMA members to engage in a number of solid waste activities in their communities."
The four cities with drop-off sites previously received a subsidy to maintain the sites, but the subsidy was eliminated in July 2020 because of budget constraints, which also contributed to the elimination of the drop-off recycling program.
According to the release: "RICWMA encourages residents to continue recycling. All member cities offer either mandatory or voluntary curbside recycling."
Anyone is welcome to use the recycling drop-off at the Scott Area Recycling Center, 5640 Carey Ave., Davenport.
Republic Services will continue to provide curbside recycling to some rural areas of Rock Island County. Residents can find out if they live within the service area by calling 563-888-6597.
For more information, contact RICMWA at 309-788-8925 or visit the website at www.ricwma.org.