PARADISE, Calif. – When the Camp Fire ripped through Paradise, there was no rhyme or reason as to what structures the fire consumed.
The town’s recycling center survived but now, five months later, the facility faces an uncertain future.
Jennifer Arbuckle with the Northern Recycling and Waste Services facility said the organization spent the past 12 years building what she describes as some of the best recycling programs in Butte County and now, as a result of the fire those programs are gone.
Although the majority of the property and company equipment was spared; just two trucks burned, most of the employees who keep the facility running day to day lost their homes. Hundreds of customers lost their property as well.
Arbuckle says the company is now facing a 92-percent loss of customers and associated revenue yet, still trying to continue offering the previous level of service. Staffing is also down, from 34 to 20 employees. Arbuckle says Northern Recycling and Waste Services is currently unable to open the recycling center or hazardous waste facility because the current infrastructure needed to perform those services, is not there.
Last summer, Arbuckle met with Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough, to discuss changes taking place within the recycling industry impacting processing protocol and customer pricing. At that time, staff was working almost non-stop. Now, the facility is mostly quiet.
Arbuckle says as the company navigates new operating territory, all customer accounts have been cancelled, so nobody is being charged for non-existent services.
The recycling, trash and yard-waste programs for curbside pick-up remain for those who do want and need the services, however services are severely reduced.
Arbuckle stresses while the company is committed to staying with Paradise and serving the community moving forward, she says there is uncertainty about what the future holds.
Ironically, shortly before the Camp Fire, the company had just purchased a new fleet of trucks, which are sitting idle.