Commissioner should reconsider recycling cuts

Marynell Oechsner
Posted 7/9/19

Dear Editor:

I read with concern that the Park County Commissioners are proposing to cut county support to Powell Valley Recycling by half for 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Powell Valley Recycling …

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Commissioner should reconsider recycling cuts


Dear Editor:

I read with concern that the Park County Commissioners are proposing to cut county support to Powell Valley Recycling by half for 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Powell Valley Recycling (PVR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. As a non-profit, Powell Valley Recycling is not in the business to make money. Our financial goal is to meet our payroll, pay our overhead, and stay above the red so we can keep our doors open on an annual basis. Powell Valley Recycling operates on a shoestring budget. After our employees were paid and all our other financial obligations were met in 2018, PVR netted $2,484.

In 2018, 54 percent of our revenue came from the residents of the City of Powell through their monthly utility bills. All of that money goes toward payroll and ultimately helps to keep the doors open during lean times. PVR provides employment for nine part-time employees. Seven of PVR’s employees are retirees, one employee is a developmentally handicapped individual and for one employee, PVR provides a second part-time job.

Another 8 percent ($8,847.36) of our revenue came from Park County taxpayers allocated to PVR by our commissioners in 2018. Those funds go towards PVR’s mortgage, insurance and taxes. Four percent of our revenue came from other sources, primarily private donations. 

Approximately 34 percent of PVR’s 2018 revenue came from the sale of recyclables that were collected. That money goes towards utilities, repairs, equipment, shipping costs and supplies, etc. Commodity prices vacillate and by the end of 2018 the bottom dropped out of the price of most recyclable commodities nationwide. As a result, PVR’s revenue has also dropped. Cardboard has been our biggest moneymaker in all previous years, including 2018. As of today, PVR would have to give cardboard away and pay for shipping besides. One of our big expenditures is the cost of shipping various commodities to different places such as Denver, Idaho Falls and Washington state, with Billings being the closest purchaser for some materials.

Powell Valley Recycling’s mission statement is dedicated to conserving natural resources and reducing the flow of solid waste going into our landfills. PVR is here to provide adequate opportunities for recycling materials throughout the Big Horn Basin. Powell Valley Recycling bins are always full to capacity, which is a testament to the number of residents, primarily in Park County, that recycle with us. In 2018, Powell Valley Recycling kept 782,450 pounds of recyclable materials out of landfills, off our public roads, off our public lands and out of our rivers and reservoirs.

The Park County landfill, was developed and is supported in part by the tax payers of Park County. Residents of Park County can pay a tipping fee to put their trash in the landfill, burn it or they have the option to sort out the recyclable material and recycle it for free with Powell Valley Recycling. Park County’s population is growing and tourists are coming here in increasing numbers. Down the road, how much will it cost Park County residents to replace the current landfill when it is full?

As of the end of June 2019, 391,340 pounds of recycled material has already been taken in at Powell Valley Recycling. That is more than PVR took in this time in 2018 and that tells me that people in Park County want to continue to have the option to recycle. The volunteer board of directors at Powell Valley Recycling would like the county commissioners to rethink reducing support to Powell Valley Recycling so that we at Powell Valley Recycling can continue to provide this important service to our residents in the future.

The earth has a finite amount of aluminum, oil and metals etc. By recycling we are reusing nonrenewable materials. RECYCLING IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!


Marynell Oechsner

President of the Board

Powell Valley Recycling, Powell