North Augusta ending blue bag program

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — A change in on the horizon for how you separate your recyclables from other garbage. The blue bag program in North Augusta is changing to cut costs.

The North Augusta blue bag program started back in 1993 as a joint venture between North Augusta and Augusta as a better way to protect recyclables. “We collected the material, and then it was to be mixed in with your solid waste. So that way we just have one truck, one can. The bag act as a protector. Now with processing equipment that we’ve installed is made the basically the blue bag, really not as needed,” North Augusta Superintendent of Sanitation, Public Services Jason Sikes told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

That processing equipment is located at the Materials Recovery Facility or MRF on Claypit Road. The facility uses machines and human labor to sort through items headed to the landfill.

“So what we do is we can process solid waste. We will take it and pull the cardboard, newspaper and then, of course, your plastics, metal, and glass from the solid waste,” Sikes added.

So even after you added your recyclables to the blue bags, staff were still sorting through the materials.

We’re told the change is due to help lower operating expenses and offset an increase in the current monthly recycling fee. In the last two years, the City of North Augusta’s, annual sales revenue from the products dropped 72 percent. The sales brought in $409,184 in 2017 to $114,474 as of September 2019, according to officials.”The national sort epidemic with China and not purchasing the recyclables, the sales of our recyclables to certain vendors have basically decreased to a point to where we’re having to make some program changes to help offset that loss,” Sikes shared.

The City, we’re told, counts on that money to fund the MRF in addition to other sources. “We use tip and fees that come from our private haulers and also the citizens that have sanitation service with the city, a part of their monthly fee, will then go into help support the operations as well,” he said.

That move, by the way, will affect more than 3,400 residents who participate in the program.

Residents who participate in the blue bag program will receive this letter in the coming days.

While the blue bag portion of recycling will be changing, officials say that’s the only change to be concerned about.

“So any of their bulk recycling, they will leave curb-side. Any of the cardboard, like your white goods, refrigerators, and large appliances will still be picked up. So the only thing really changing in the program is just the supplying of the blue bags,” Sikes said.

Meanwhile, even after the program ends, the city will continue to pick up those blue bags if you still have them. A location is available for you to drop off your recyclables at 61 Claypit Road.

If you have any questions about the changes, you can contact the North Augusta Public Services Department at 803-441-4240.

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