The days of recycling No. 3 through No. 7 plastics are numbered. Tuesday afternoon, the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority voted to discontinue the acceptance of those plastics for recycling until there once again is a market for them. “At the material recovery facilities, … the 3-7 plastics, there really isn’t a healthy domestic market for them,” Director of Solid Waste Phil McKalips said. “… They used to be shipped to China, but that’s been closed off.” These plastics — which include PVC piping, sandwich bags, vehicular plastics, Styrofoam and acrylic — make up between 5 percent and 10 percent of total recyclables. No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, such as food containers and milk jugs, are shipped from the McIntire Road Recycling Center to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they are sorted. Because of the closed Chinese market, “the majority, if not all, of the No. 3 to No. 7 plastic materials that we collect for recycling are being disposed of in a landfill” in Raleigh, the staff report on the plastics states. The change is set to go in effect July 1, and the RSWA plans to put up signs at recycling facilities and consider education and marketing efforts. Currently, paper, glass, cans, plastics and other recyclables are accepted at McIntire, and newspapers, magazines, catalogues and cardboard are accepted at the Ivy Material Utilization Center. The RSWA board also voted in favor of building a recycling center at the Ivy MUC. The $443,000 project will be funded by $350,000 already approved in Albemarle County’s Capital Improvement Plan budget, and RSWA staff will search for ways to bring down the cost, McKalips said. Also at the Ivy MUC, the facility is slated next month to begin a pilot of operating six days a week. Under the program, which will run from March 18 to Sept. 16, the MUC only will be closed on Sundays. The proposal was made in part by the increase in traffic since the RSWA reduced its tipping fees on Jan. 1 from $66 per ton to $52 per ton. “One of the things, since we’re seeing all this … increase in use by business — large haulers — is they’ve asked the question, ‘You’ve mentioned before about opening on Mondays,’” McKalips said. “They have indicated that this would be valuable to their business operations and that we should expect to see similar tonnages that they bring on other weekdays,” the staff report states. The program is expected to cost about $43,266 a month with temporary workers. In August, the RSWA board is slated to vote on whether to terminate the program or make it permanent.


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The RSWA is getting a new logo, but it might look familiar. The board approved a redesign that would make the RSWA logo similar to that of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority. Both will contain a mountain scene under “Rivanna” in large letters. The current logo always has “been a little bit difficult to read,” McKalips said. “Our strategic plan has been to try and bring the two authorities together … at least at the staff level for people to think this is one team, one entity,” he said. McKalips said the cost to change the logo will be minimal. The RSWA is about to purchase new uniforms, and the logo on them can be changed without additional charge. Most of the RSWA’s stationery is printed from electronic templates. The cost to change logos on vehicles will not be significant, and signs with the old logo) will be phased out as they wear out, McKalips said.

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Elliott Robinson

Elliott Robinson has spent nearly 15 years in journalism and joined Charlottesville Tomorrow as its news editor in August 2018 through 2021. He is a graduate of Christopher Newport University.