Recycling revenue up, fees from landfill down

Friday, November 12, 2010
Ricky Moore, left, helps Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods get the hang of working on the sorting line at the county's transfer station for recyclables.

The amount of money generated from recycling by Marshall County's Solid Waste Department is 14 times greater than it was six years ago, the department's manager told city and county leaders on Wednesday.

That increase, from $16,560 in fiscal year 2005-06 to $227,500 in the current fiscal year, is counterbalanced by the decrease of money paid by Waste Management Inc. as it's been diverting trash from Cedar Ridge Landfill because its request for expansion was denied.

As a result, tipping fee payments to Marshall County have dropped from more than $500,000 six years ago to $65,000 this year, according to Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas who cited audit results from 2005-06 and his current budget.

Thomas delivered these revenue figures to Lewisburg and Marshall County leaders at his department's conference room on Wednesday to announce Recycle America Day is Monday and invite his guests to try sorting plastic, paper and metal on the motorized sort line at the county's transfer station behind the Hardison Office Annex.

That's where the contents of Lewisburg residents' recycling carts go to be separated. Thomas' guests saw a bale of aluminum cans pressed into a solid square, held together by straps and set on a wood pallet before being hauled away for sale. It's valued at about $600.

"It's gotten to the point where Lewisburg people just recycle automatically," Thomas said.

With a conveyor belt moving recyclable materials from left to right in front of them, three women on the tour volunteered to try to sort plastic from metal and paper.

As Mayor Barbara Woods, County Commissioner Anna Childress and Tatjana Trostel, a volunteer with the Family Community Education Group, stepped to their posts to be helped by workers who normally spend their nights as a guest of the sheriff, the visitors seemed to agree that what was about to happen was going to look like a scene from the "I Love Lucy" show in which Lucille Ball couldn't keep up with a chocolate processing line.

Thomas had the sorting line run slowly and the three women seemed successful in their separation of paper, metal and plastic.

"Mr. McRady," Woods called to Councilman Ronald McRady as she stood at her position on the sort line, "don't you want to sort some trash?"

Having noticed that only Sheriff Norman Dalton climbed to one part of the sorting line, but had since returned to the sorting room floor, McRady replied, "No. There are too many women up there."

It was a light-hearted exchange between members of the City Council who've been dealing with other contentious issues.

Among others present for the publicity event were Kenny Ring, John Smiley, Jerry Williams, Kevin Reinhart, Brent Speck, Sabrina Patterson, Gaylon Thomason, Emily Gordon, Jessica Burton, and others.