LAKE OZARK, Mo. — The city of Lake Ozark has taken a giant step toward encouraging recycling within the city and the Lake area.
The board of aldermen recently authorized giving $5,000 to Laclede Industries, which operates the Waste Watchers recycling site at 43 Valley Road. In exchange, residents of the city of Lake Ozark can drop off a variety of recyclable goods free of charge as a service to its residents. If you are not a resident of the City of Lake Ozark, there is now a slight fee. Non-residents of the city of Lake Ozark can buy pre-paid cards that allow them to drop up to 10, 13-gallon bags of recyclables for $10; or buy a pre-paid $25 card that allows them to drop off up to 10, 30-gallon bags of recycling.
The facility is open to all area residents, but only Lake Ozark residents can use the facility free, due to the city’s gift.
Effective Jan. 1, Laclede Industries announced that recycling drops would no longer be free unless city of Lake Ozark residents can show proof of residency. That’s easily done by showing a city of Lake Ozark utility bill or stopping by the City Hall at 3162 Bagnell Dam Blvd. (next to Bentley’s Restaurant). City officials will provide a simple ID card for residents to show at the recycling facility, upon proof of residency.
Non-Lake Ozark residents can get a pre-paid card at 43 Valley Road during regular business hours – 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays. Non-residents who wish to recycle but don’t want to buy a pre-paid card can pay a $3 per-bag charge at the site. Waste Watchers is not charging for aluminum or corrugated cardboard because there currently are markets that will buy them, and the value currently exceeds cost.
The stipend provided by the city will also help keep the recycling center in operation.
According to Linda Kimrey, director of Laclede Industries, “Recycling markets have been volatile over the years and the cost of recycling is far higher than revenues received.”
With the recent bans by foreign countries on recyclables, many material recovery facilities have gone out of business. Even large trash companies have stopped providing recycling services due to decreased revenues and a lack of end markets.
Most companies within the United States have not yet adopted a sustainable model to effectively manage the quantity of materials generated; nor the ability to ensure that quality standards are met due to frequent contamination. Therefore, the ability to export recyclables came to an end in January 2018 when China – the primary importer of recyclable materials – slashed the amount of materials it would accept. Other foreign markets such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have also imposed import restrictions.
Rather than abandon the market altogether, Laclede Industries – along with the city of Lake Ozark -- wants to continue to provide consumers with a reasonable option for recycling services. But to do that, Laclede says it must do so in a way that covers its costs and does not threaten its mission of employing individuals with disabilities.
“As consumers, it is our responsibility to understand that our consumption and buying choices have consequences far beyond the immediate satisfaction of the purchase,” Kimrey said. “Each of us would do well to examine our buying behaviors in light of the ‘trash’ we produce.”