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Columbia scouts new location for recycling drop-off

Since his wife runs an in-home preschool, Charlie Scott visits the recycling drop-off center on State Farm Parkway two times a week. It’s his contribution to keeping trash out of the landfill and environment, but just a small offering to the bins overflowing with cardboard Monday afternoon.

As a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Scott is thankful Columbia puts an effort forth for recycling. However, for the last month, his recycling trip has been extended. The day after Christmas, Shelter Insurance asked the city to remove the recycling bins at the Gerbes parking lot on West Broadway. The store will soon expand to add a fuel station, and Columbia Public Works spokesman Steven Sapp said Shelter Insurance told the city there simply was not enough room for the bins during the expansion. Scott said he used that site often, and coming to State Farm Parkway, on the city’s south side, is much less convenient for his living on the west side of town.

With the loss of the recycling drop-off site on West Broadway, Columbia does not have a drop-off site west of Providence Road and south of Business Loop 70. Couple that with the loss of the recycling site at Gerbes on Paris Road, and the city estimates its lost 886 tons of recycling.

Columbia Solid Waste will suggest at Tuesday’s city council meeting building a new site just north of the intersection of Providence and Nifong Blvd., near the Nifong Shopping Center. The city still owns the property the old Columbia FIre Station #7 stood, torn down after the new station on Green Meadows Circle was built in 2008. Sapp said the department is designing a new masonry enclosure for the site, which would be only the third recycling site on city-owned property. Seven of the nine currently running are on private property, with an agreement from the city to place the recycling bins there. Sapp said the department would also bring the enclosure to the State Farm Parkway site.

The changes come at a time when the city hopes to decrease the amount of material in the landfill through recycling. At a recent meeting, the Solid Waste Division of Public Works said it currently “diverts” 17 percent of material from the landfill into the recycling center, half the national average. Starting then, the city began collecting all types of plastics in its containers, rather than just types 1 and 2 plastics.

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