We’re better together! And everyone has been working together to increase community pride and engagement at Alder Park. We heard you when you said you had safety concerns about the park. We listened when you said you wanted it to be a place you could enjoy with your family. We ask for your feedback at public meetings, and you shared it. We used that feedback to advocate for changes. And together, residents, SPD, Public Works, all of us, have worked to make the park that place where families of all kinds can enjoy the amenities of the park. And as many of us have discussed, the more we use our park, the better! The walking trail, which I’ve already seen so many people enjoying, is just the latest update at Alder Park. Please join us at Saturday at 3 to check it out and celebrate these changes we’ve made together.
The sewer’s not cool or fun. So nobody really wants to talk about the sewer. Except maybe me. If you’ve been following this page since I was elected, you know I’ve been talking about it since 2016 when I found out how far behind we were on sewer maintenance and rehab. We had to make some tough decisions to get back on track, but we’ve made so much progress. So today I’m excited to talk about the sewer once more. Because we were just awarded a $500,000 grant for sewer rehabilitation from the S.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). These are competitive infrastructure grants, so kudos to our city staff for writing a winning application. And even if nobody wants to talk about it, the sewer is really important, and we need to ensure we plan for its future and never let things get as bad as they were before.
Significant planning has been put into the City resuming garbage pickup in September at the end of the contract term with Ace/Meridian. All garbage trucks have been delivered and striped. Garbage containers have been ordered, and will be delivered City-wide the week of August 23rd. We have decided to purchase a container for each pickup location so that everyone will have a new City container to avoid confusion.
Information about the pickup schedule, elimination of single stream curbside recycling, holiday schedule, etc. will be attached to each container that is delivered.
A Superintendent for Sanitation has been hired to begin working on the transition. Three drivers have been hired, leaving only one opening for a driver remaining. Because we have a full-time superintendent on staff now, please refer any concerns about missed pickups or sanitation service in general to public works at 967-9531.
☑️ Simpsonville Farmer’s Market.
☑️ Fire Department.
Remember: the end of curbside recycling is not the end of recycling in Simpsonville. There are drop off locations throughout the city. And you can take aluminum cans to your local fire department to double the benefit by supporting the SC Firefighters Burned Children’s Fund.
All funds go directly to help to ease the recovery process for MUSC’s pediatric burn patients and their families. Between 2017-2018, our FD raised $10,000 for the fund. In 2020, they saw a dip in donations to only $6,800. Please join me in helping them raise even more over the next year by dropping your aluminum cans off at one of our stations. It’s a really easy way to make a BIG difference. #SimplyRecycle
The end of curbside recycling doesn’t mean you can’t recycle in Simpsonville! This weekend I dropped off some cans at Station 2 on Capewood Rd.
The Simpsonville Fire Department, along with FDs across our state, participates in the Burned Children’s Fund by collecting aluminum cans for recycling. All funds go directly to help to ease the recovery process for MUSC’s pediatric burn patients and their families. Between 2017-2018, our FD raised $10,000 for the fund. In 2020, they saw a dip in donations to only $6,800. Please join me in helping them raise even more over the next year by dropping your aluminum cans off at one of our stations. It’s a really easy way to make a BIG difference.
I received these questions on Facebook, and you may have the same questions, so I am sharing this Q&A for all.
– So you’re saying the curbside recycling ends up in the landfill, but if we take it to the local drop off containers that doesn’t end up in the landfill?
– Is there any evidence that the recycling ends up in the landfill?
Most of what I’ve read indicates that approximately 25% of single stream recyclables end up going straight to the landfill. We don’t have any oversight at Pratt, so we don’t know exactly how much of ours goes in. If you think about it, it makes sense: if a person puts, for example, a used pizza box into their recycling cart, it contaminates the rest of the material in the cart. Now, most or all of that cart won’t be recycled. We’ll still pay the increased rate of $65 (current, could raise further at any point)/ton instead of the $25/ton for the landfill. Similarly, consider this: if I recycle my newspapers in the same bin as my aluminum cans but don’t rinse and dry those cans before tossing them in with everything else, the paper (and any cardboard) can get contaminated. My contaminated material gets dumped in the truck, and then my neighbors gets dumped in too. More mixing of materials = more contamination. So we pay $65/ton, and all that contaminated material goes to the landfill. Even if we’re all making our best effort not to contaminate materials, accidents happen (single stream makes that easy too), and the result is still the same. Single stream curbside recycling is convenient because we don’t sort our materials. But someone still has to do that work—machines and/or people (at the MRF)—and it’s never as effective as a system that doesn’t mix recyclables in the first place. As I understand it, when single stream first became popular (in the early 90s), this was less of a concern because China was willing to accept materials that were somewhat contaminated (ex. bulk paper barrels that didn’t have to be completely clean). Then, they stopped. And now they’ve stopped accepting our recyclables altogether. This has driven the cost up and affected what does or does not get recycled. When we sort the materials ourselves and recycle them via a container system as opposed to through single stream (mixing them all together), there is less contamination and more recyclable material makes it to the MRF rather than the landfill. I believe that we have an obligation to be good stewards of the environment. So separating my recyclables and depositing them at an appropriate facility is something I am personally willing to do and something that I hope our fellow residents will as well. We will be launching a reduce, reuse, recycle educational campaign to help people understand how they can have the biggest impact on the environment, which I also think is important because reducing waste and reusing non-recyclables is just as important as recycling. Also, our Community Relations Specialist is putting together some FAQS for the website that will address questions like what to do with cans. Stay tuned for that.
Discontinuing the single stream curbside recycling collection is not just fiscally responsible; it’s environmentally responsible.
As a Councilmember, part of my job is to ensure that we are good stewards of YOUR taxpayer dollars. After China stopped accepting recyclables from the United States in 2017, processing recyclables became more costly for the waste management industry, and those companies pass those costs onto cities like Simpsonville. Whereas Pratt once paid the City for recyclables, Pratt began charging the City for handling recyclables in 2019 at a rate of $25/ton, which has increased 160% to the current $65/ton, and there is nothing stopping Pratt from continuing to increase that rate.
I’ve always been a proud recycler. I feel good when I roll my cart out, and it’s twice as full as the trash cart. I feel good about making a difference. Or I did. Until I learned just how much of our recycling doesn’t actually get recycled. With the 160% increase in cost, and the fact that so much just ends up in the landfill anyway, I no longer feel good about it. It looks less like saving the environment and more like throwing money—taxpayer money—into the landfill under the guise of doing good. I can’t justify that.
We not only need to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars; we also need to be good stewards of the environment.
Like many of you, I thought that curbside, single stream recycling was brilliant! It makes doing the right thing quick and easy, right? But often times, making something quick and easy decreases its quality or effectiveness. And that’s what we have here. Single stream, curbside recycling is simply ineffective. In large part, this is because so many people do not follow appropriate recycling procedures for single stream curbside recycling. More effective: recycling at one of the county collections sites. Multiple recycling drop-off centers are located in Greenville County, including four locations in or near Simpsonville: City Park on Park Drive, Brookwood Church on Brookwood Pointe Place, Fountain Inn Elementary School on Fairview Street, and Conestee Park on Mauldin Road. In addition, people can donate their aluminum cans to one of the fire station trailer drop-offs to benefit pediatric burn patients via the S.C. Burned Children’s Fund. If we increase those donations, that multiplies the benefit.
Recycling is the right choice. But we need to do it right if we really want to make a difference. It may take a little more work on each of our parts. I am willing to do that, and I am hopeful many of our like-minded residents will be as well.
In doing so we will be taking a step forward to a more sustainable future.
When I came into office, the state of the Public Works Department was such that we had no other choice but to contract some of its services. Since then, we have been working towards fiscally responsible long-term planning for sustainable quality services in Simpsonville. Because of that planning, we were able to vote tonight to have Public Works take over trash collection, effective September. A lot of time and work went into getting us to this place. I am confident that our Public Works Department now has the resources and support it needs to provide high quality, dependable customer service—not just this year or next year or the year after…but long after my term on Council has ended.
For the background/history with Public Works, click here for past posts.
I recently received an email regarding the discontinuation of curbside recycling:
Dear Simpsonville City Council,
I was disappointed to learn today about the city of Simpsonville’s plan to discontinue offering curbside recycling pickup within city limits. This is upsetting to me to see the city take a step backwards in terms of sustainability and care for the environment. I have always believed right is right, regardless of the consequences. In this case, stopping curbside recycling may seem like a gain since the expense can be diverted elsewhere. However, I can assure you that decisions like these lead to long term loss and deterioration. Right is still right even if it costs more. I am ashamed that the city council will shift their values in exchange for money. As I watch the world deteriorate in values and morals, it is especially frustrating to see it in your own city.
This is my response:
Thank you for reaching out about your concerns regarding recycling. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this important matter.
As I said in our last meeting when we discussed this issue, ending curbside recycling pains me. It really does. I am a big proponent of recycling, and my personal recycling bin is always fuller than my trash can. However, based on all of the information I have, I firmly believe it is the right choice–not just for fiscal sustainability but for long-term environmental sustainability as well.
Until recently, I was not aware of how much of our curbside recycling is actually rejected by Pratt and sent to the landfill anyway. In large part, this is because so many people do not follow appropriate recycling procedures for single stream curbside recycling. It’s simply ineffective. Much to my dismay, we’re actually doing more harm than good with our current program. To think that we run extra trucks, creating extra emissions, increasing our carbon footprint, only for a significant portion of our recyclables to be dumped in the landfill anyway: unconscionable.
As I requested in the meeting, the City will plan to develop and implement a robust public education strategy to help residents engage in reducing, reusing, and recycling in ways that are more effective. Multiple drop-off locations for recyclables exist inside Simpsonville city limits and Greenville County. Recycling this way increases the chances that people sort through their recyclables and ensure they are clean enough to drop off, which means they will be accepted rather than rejected at Pratt. In this way, we actually increase the amount of waste material that actually gets recycled.
In addition, people can donate their aluminum cans to one of the fire station trailer drop-offs to benefit pediatric burn patients via the S.C. Burned Children’s Fund. If we increase those donations, that multiplies the benefit.
I agree with you: right is right. Recycling is the right choice. But we need to do it right if we really want to make a difference. It may take a little more work on each of our parts. I am willing to do that, and I am hopeful many of our like-minded residents will be as well. In doing so, rather than taking a step backward, we will be taking a step forward to a more sustainable future.
Again, thanks for reaching out and sharing your thoughts.
Do you know where Oakley and I are? Cheyenne Drive!
You may have noticed markings like these on Cheyenne, or you may have spotted the “Road Work Ahead” signs going up on Seminole and Aspenwood. That’s because work on Cheyenne will begin soon. This section that was temporarily repaired will be permanently fixed. According to PW Director Andy West, the entire road (from West Georgia to Capewood) will be milled and a layer of Portland cement will be applied. Once this cures, the surface will go on a week or so later.