We will have a blue bag program in Walton county, provided free by the county. The target date for the arrival of the bags is June first. The blue bag program is very simple and effective. Currently Walton County has what is called a dirty murf program for recycling. Under this system prisoners open the trash bags that collection trucks bring in from all over the county. These prisoners then separate salvageable recyclable materials. I say salvageable because a great deal of recyclable materials are no longer usable once they are mixed in with other garbage. Under the blue bag program residents will rinse their recyclable materials and separate them from other garbage. They will then put the blue bags out with their regular trash. Trash collection will pick up both blue bags and regular trash with the same truck. The blue bags will then be separated out at the waste facility in Defuniak. By separating recyclables into blue bags the amount of recyclable materials recovered greatly increases. The blue bags will be strong enough that they will not tear in the garbage trucks, and they are also recyclable.
I am going to lay out the progression of how we reached this point. Jenifer Kuntz and I (Arix Zalace) held an event in the beginning of this year in Gulf Place. We showed the film An Inconvenient Truth, and had speakers from Waste Management and CHELCO/AEC come to discuss our current waste and electricity situation. At this event Christina Scally approached Jen with some of her own suggestions, one of which was a blue bag program for Walton county. I presented the idea to commissioner Meadows, who then set up a meeting for us to discuss the topic. Here are the players present at this meeting: Cindy Meadows (County Commissioner), Ronnie Bell (County Administrator), Rory Cassedy (Governmental Affairs Manager for Waste Management), Lyle Seigler (Public Works Director), Claire Bannerman, Jennifer Kuntz, and Arix Zalace. The first meeting got the ball rolling as far as what direction this was heading, and any research needed. Jen and I just attended our second meeting with Commissioner Meadows, Lyle, Claire, Rusty Floyd (Solid Waste Manager), and Ken Little (Public Information Officer). The decision was made to start a blue bag program for all of Walton County. The target date set by Lyle for the production of the bags was June first. Printed on each bag will be Walton County’s logo and and a list of what materials can be put in them.
Jen and I want everyone to know how helpful the people mentioned above have been in moving this issue forward, and quite frankly making it happen. A special thanks goes out to Commissioner Meadows.