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A Missouri Senate bill pre-filed by State Senator Kurt Schaefer would eliminate the state’s 20 Solid Waste Management Districts, instead directing the money from landfill fees to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. The DNR would then be responsible for awarding grant money to various business and entities.
Rhonda Long is the Associate Planner for the Solid Waste Management’s District O, which covers Greene, Christian, Polk, Webster and Dallas counties. The districts work to “divert” or reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by removing recyclables from trash containers, which then are taken to a recycling center.
“We currently have a recycling infrastructure where every resident within the district has access to a recycling center within 25 miles of their residence. When you consider that this was not the case back in the early 90s, that’s something that we feel is very important and we are very proud of,” Long said.
Long says the district has serious concerns this recycling infrastructure will be adversely impacted if the bill passes. She says a lot of businesses and entities receive and depend on grant money from District 0, which awarded more than $290,000 in 2012
Schaefer is quoted as saying the bill will not lower the amount of grant money available to cities and counties, it would only eliminate the budget for administrative costs. But Long says the Solid Waste Management districts are better suited to divide up the grant money based on what each individual community needs.
“There’s a direct impact between the funding that is received and administered in your local solid waste district and the success of the recycling infrastructure that results from that,” Long said.
The legislative session begins January 9th.