WAHOO – Region V Services in Wahoo has decided to go back to its original format of accepting only aluminum cans.
Region V Services Day Services Coordinator Louise Ewers said Region V has had to shed all the extra responsibilities it has taken on over the years, such as accepting paper, plastics and even running recycling pick up service.
Ewers said initially Region V only took aluminum cans to be recycled and helped clients to learn skills they can then use to make a place for themselves in the wider community. About 18 years ago, other recycling products were added.
Wahoo Region V Director Cary Deane said there were fiscal issues that had to be confronted as part of the reason to stop additional recycling, as well as cleaning services.
As reported last year, changes in state legislation meant labor costs will increase. Region V will transition from a sub-minimum wage format to a minimum wage format.
Deane said Region V would be allowed to pay only sub-minimum wages to its employees, if they applied for it to the Wage and Hour Division under the Department of Labor.
However, she said Region V administration chose to not pay clients working there anything less than minimum wage, recognizing it as poor business practice to do so.
Deane said with this decision in effect though, Region V couldn’t afford to continue the many community recycling services it once did, such as accepting papers, plastics and operating a recyclables pick-up system.
She said Region V simply wouldn’t have the revenue to maintain the number of salaries for the people who would be providing these services.
She said she did not know the exact number of businesses that will be effected by this change. In addition to recyclables being dropped off at the workshop in Wahoo, staff and clients also picked up from area businesses and schools.
The change also affects the cleaning services offered to some businesses. That work is also being stopped.
Deane said that since they have cut back, they can now focus on other things, such as recycling solely aluminum cans and allowing using Region V resources to help people find jobs in the community.
“It’s back to basics, back to aluminum cans,” Deane said.
Ewers said Region V will be continuing the Meaningful Day Center, a program for providing community integration support for adults, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.