Less than 10% of Chesterfield homes opt out of recycling program

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Despite the controversy over paying $25 a year to recycle, an overwhelming majority of homes are participating. And when it comes to tracking who's in and who's out the county's devised a system.

Every other Monday the truck hits the brakes for the bins left outside homes like Merle Rokenbrod's. She recycles anything she can find.

"I think it's the right thing to do. I hate for all my trash to go to the county landfill," said Rokenbrod.

She and more than 91,000 Chesterfield homes are being billed $25 a year, $.96 a pick-up, to recycle. The new fee took effect July 1.

"I don't mind. I think it's a great service. I couldn't take it anywhere for $.96 so I'm happy," Rokenbrod said.

But not everyone is excited about paying to recycle. Some have already opted out of the program.

The county was anticipating 30% of homes to opt-out. As a result, funds were set aside the cover the remaining costs. But the reality is, a little less than 10% of homes are not participating.

"A lot of people still think it's $25 per month," said Charles Dane. "They call in to opt out and say it's too expensive. And as soon as we tell them it's $25 per year- they say I'm sorry, then I will stay in."

Charles Dane, who heads Chesterfield's program, says most people opt out because they're on limited funds and can't afford the fee. Their address will then go on a list forwarded to truck drivers. If a bin is set out for an address that opted out, workers will drive past the bin.

Dane expects more people to opt-out and others to sign back up. Merle hopes people take advantage what she considers a cheap service.

"Of all the taxes that we get charged, that's reasonable I think," said Rokenbrod.

The $25 a year recycle fee is split into two payments of $12.50 which will be billed on the June and December real estate assessments.

You must opt-out by September 15 or else you will be billed on your December assessment. You must opt-out by March 15 or else you will be billed on your June assessment.

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