By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
Marshall County is receiving one of 18 state grants announced last week to further recycling of paper, plastic and metal.
"This is what we were hoping to have happen," Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas said Monday of a self-sustaining program that's moving to Lewisburg's Industrial Park.
A regional recycling hub is to be established in partnership with Maury, Giles, Lincoln and Bedford counties and the cities of Lewisburg, Columbia, Petersburg, Chapel Hill, and Cornersville.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau awarded approximately $1.7 million in Recycling Equipment and Hub / Spoke Grants. Marshall County's grant is one of the largest at $300,000. Columbia was awarded a $225,000 grant to buy a recycling truck in cooperation with programs here and in Maury County.
"We're excited to receive it," Thomas said of the grant. "We've got to wait for the state to send us a contract and for the county mayor to sign it."
The money will pay for retrofitting of the county's recycling building, upgrade a sorting line, and obtain scales, a conveyor, and a skid loader. The grant will also provide money for the purchase of commercial kitchen equipment so food may be prepared to feed county jail trusties assigned to the recycling program.
"It will probably take two months for us to start the bid process and it will probably be December of next year before all the equipment is in and fully operational," Thomas said.
The grants are authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 and supported by the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund. It's to assist development and expansion of a regional facility to collect, transport and process recyclable material for multi-county areas or municipalities.
"We are pleased to fund these 18 projects through the state's Solid Waste Management Fund because they will promote and increase recycling across the state of Tennessee and engage partnerships among counties and municipalities," Haslam said.
Each recipient is required to match the state grant on a sliding scale basis. Local matching funds toward these 12 projects total more than $226,000.