COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Solid Waste Management Authority voted to table a vote on a proposed “pay as you throw” system called Gumpster at Thursday night’s meeting.
Authority members had heard a presentation on the system in July and a vote on the county’s use of it had been scheduled for the authority’s Aug. 16 meeting.
“Gumpster, in the simplest terms, is pay per use waste receptacle system very similar to, if you ever go to a vending machine and put a dollar in and get a Coke, it’s very similar to that,” Kim Herron of Gumpster LLLP told members last month. “The difference is, instead of getting a bottle of Coke, you’re able to put a specific amount of money in the Gumpster, and then you load your garbage into the Gumpster.”
Solid Waste Manager Kevin Walter said at the time that the system is ideal for residents for whom a regular curbside trash pick-up or purchasing a $155 convenience center hang tag is not practical.
Walter’s idea was to convert one of the county’s existing convenience centers into a free recycling/Gumpster location.
“Right now there is no place in the county where citizens can recycle items for free. We’ve not set up the landfill for people to come in and recycle items directly there, because the facilities were not designed for that,” he said. “The recycling centers are, of course set up for recycling, but you have to have a tag to be admitted the centers. We want people to recycle.”
Walter proposed converting the Bypass Convenience Center into Gumpster center, with recycling for free.
“If residents could come there with no tag, all we’d have to do is verify that they have a Newton County plate and they could be admitted. If they only have recycling, newspaper, cardboard, tin cans, plastic or glass, they can deposit it there with no charge. If they have garbage in bags, they could use the Gumpster. They will not be allowed in the gate with sofas or mattresses or bulk items or refrigerators or other things that either require a tag or you have to go to the landfill to dispose of,” he said.
Walter said the operator at the center would watch over the recycling area and the Gumpster during the normal hours at the center. He proposed charging $2.00 per five bags in Gumpster.
“A family could come every two weeks and for $2.00 they could dispose of all their garbage and recycling,” he said, “I think there’s a number of people who would do that.”
Walter said it’s important to provide a way for people to recycle free.
“Going forward with whatever we do in the future, I believe we need a way for people to recycle without cost,” he said, “That’s material we’re going to keep out of our landfill. It’s going to save us a lot of money in the long term.”
Authority chairman Phil Wise said he was not in favor of changing the Bypass center from a full service convenience center.
“What we would be doing is taking the convenience center away from the communities surrounding the landfill,” he said, “Up until a year or so ago, they had a convenience center. Then they had to start going to several different ones that were farther away. That would impact the communities that surround the landfill by them having to go a little further away to take their trash.”
Authority member Kent Campbell said it still may be a little early for a decision on Gumpster.
“I think it’s a great idea as a demonstration project to have the Gumpster and recycling together in one location,” he said, “I think if it works and it’s financially viable, it’s something that we can provide for the citizens throughout the county, possibly. I just don’t think that we’re there yet. We’re in the midst of developing a strategic plan. We’re not really sure what we’re doing with the convenience centers, particularly with the closed ones.
“It needs to be discussed as we develop our strategic plan. Is something that we want to include in the future?”
Campbell moved to table the vote. The motion passed 5-0.