Future of Abilities Unlimited recycling program uncertain

Future of Abilities Unlimited recycling program uncertain

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Abilities Unlimited program may not be able to continue through the first part of next year if an agreement on funding isn't met.

Darren May, chief operations officer of Abilities Unlimited, told Region 8 News without any funding outside of commodities it will cost an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 beyond the value of the recyclables collected each year to keep the program running.

May said the business has met with Craighead County mayors as well as board members of the Solid Waste Authority to discuss adding a $2.00 tipping fee for all the waste going into the landfill to help support recycling.

"We had hoped they would pass that this week," May said. "They decided that based on the fact that it is cheaper to bury it and they didn't feel that it saved enough landfill space, they did not take any action on the matter and they put it back on the cities to come up with a solution to fund the recycling program."

May said Abilities Unlimited has enough funding to allow them operate until the beginning of April.

"The $2.00 tipping fee generated about $225,000 based on last year's tonnage," May said. "We could cover the rest of it from our funding."

May proposed if a fee similar to ones collected in other large Arkansas communities was collected, it would bring in a large portion of the money they need to keep operating.

"The City of Little Rock pays a little or $2.70 per house, per month for their recycling program," May said. "In Jonesboro, that would generate somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars if they charged a fee similar to what the City of Little Rock Charges. We don't need a million dollars; we need about 1/4th of that to operate. We're optimistic the mayors will see the importance of the program and we'll find a way to fund it."

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