by Gene Marrano
Although it was created by former Roanoke County Democratic Party Chair Richard Evans, the “Common Sense” group, which bills itself as “Progress for Roanoke County,” has a decidedly nonpartisan tone.
The group, which now meets monthly at the South County Library (from the old 419 location to its new home on Merriman Road) focuses more on giving people an insight into how their local government works, often inviting county employees to give talks on their departments or decisions that affect residents.
The topic for the meeting coming up on Monday, February 27 (7-8:45 pm in meeting room 1 at the library) was suggested by several members of Common Sense. “Recycling for Roanoke County Residents,” will include representatives from the City of Roanoke, which offers free curbside collection of recyclable materials for its residents, also providing them with storage bins.
Roanoke County offers no such curbside recycling services, giving up on that effort years ago as being financially unfeasible. As will be highlighted at the Common Sense meeting, the county does however offer six recycling drop-off locations that accept mixed paper, aluminum and certain plastics at Cox Communications on Fallowater Lane in Southwest Roanoke County, Hollins University on West Campus Drive in North Roanoke County, Hidden Valley High School in Southwest Roanoke County, Glenvar Middle School in West Roanoke County and William Byrd Middle School in East Roanoke County. Roanoke County does not offer a location for glass recycling.
Also on the agenda for the February 27 meeting is a presentation by a private company, Greener Pasture Services of Boones Mill, which does something Roanoke County does not – provide curbside recycling services. For a fee of $18 a month (less when signing up for a year), GPS will pick up recycling bins it provides to home and business owners. Paper must be separated but all other recyclables can be commingled.
Co-owner Raina Bantner started the company with husband David after they moved to Franklin County more than two years ago. Not only was the regular trash not even picked up at their new home, there were not options for “single stream curbside recycling,” like they had access to in Maryland, according to Raina. The multiple bins provided in their last home became a chore as well.
Thus Greener Pastures was born, focusing first on Franklin County. “We noticed our trash volume getting larger and then the hassle of carrying it down to dumpsters,” said Bantner of how the idea for GPS was conceived. “We knew that recycling should be easier and accept more [materials]. More people would recycle if it weren’t such a hassle.”
The Bantners then took GPS to southwest Roanoke County and are now spreading their services to other quadrants of the county. The couple targeted Roanoke County because they knew there was no curbside recycling available there. Group rates are available when homeowner groups order services together. They in turn make some money by sorting and selling what is collected to recycling firms like Cycle Systems and Recycling and Disposal Solutions (RDS) on Plantation Road, which does accept glass, unlike many recyclers.
The Bantners also feel they are offering a public service with their green business: “that’s definitely what our aim was to begin with,” said Raina Bantner. Making recycling less of a hassle, at affordable prices to boot, seems to be a “common sense approach” to the recycling problem. “It’s a solution that Roanoke County needed.”
Common Sense – Progress for Roanoke County presents “Recycling for Roanoke County Residents,” in meeting room 1 at the new South County Library on Monday, February 27 at 7pm. Non-members are welcome. Greener Pastures can be reached at 540-334-5892.