Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

May 29, 2012

GIVING BACK: Take a look at state of our waste

CROSSVILLE — The county recently submitted its solid waste report to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. In the past year, the county collected and landfilled 52,462 tons of waste. Another 6,067 tons of materials were collected and recycled. A total of 58,829 tons of waste were collected by the county.

The total recycled figure included 2,321 tons of sewer sludge because the waste material was put to beneficial use even though the county is not responsible for collecting the material. The county got the sewer sludge from the city’s wastewater operations and “recycled” it as a cover material for the Flynn Cove landfill, which is now closed.

If you deduct the sewer sludge tonnage from the total recycled, the county collected and recycled 3,746 tons of waste. This gives the county a recycling rate of 6.3 percent, which is greater than the state average of 4.6 percent.  Our state, however, ranks eighth lowest nationally. The leading recycling states are California (40 percent), Oregon (31 percent), and Maine (28 percent). Louisiana comes in last with a .5 percent recycling rate.

Four hundred sixteen tons of wood debris products from construction and demolition wastes and 156 tons of wood pallets were removed from the waste stream for reuse. The county ground the wood and used it to control erosion at its now closed landfill. The county has started collecting Crossville Ceramics’ recycled materials, and the pallets are used to transport the recyclables from the plant.

There were 1,303 tons of corrugated paper collected along with 616 tons of newspaper. These were recycled along with 688 tons of tires, 409 tons of scrap iron, and 93 tons #1 and #2 plastics.  Other recycled materials in smaller amounts included waste oil, car batteries, other metals, latex paint, transmission fluid, and antifreeze.

The county recycled 15 tons of mixed glass, thanks to the purchase of a glass pulverizer. Next year, that number will certainly increase.  You can purchase the ground glass suitable for landscaping from the Recycling Center at $30 a ton.

It cost the county taxpayers $2,011,842 to landfill its waste, most of which could have been recycled. We need to turn taxpayers into recyclers so that our dollars stop flying out of the county coffers.

It cost $383,779 to operate the Recycling Center, but it generated $416,079 in sales of recycled materials. The Recycling Center paid for itself and conserved natural resources. 

Our gratitude to the county for its recycling leadership. 

If you have recycling questions, please let me know and I will try to get answers: lgorenflo@gmail.com.

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