Franklin's recycling to be processed here

Friday, November 21, 2014

By Karen Hall


Marshall County's Solid Waste Department will start taking single-stream recycling from the city of Franklin. Solid waste committee members met Franklin's Sanitation and Environmental Services Director Rebecca Caldwell and two of her staff at their meting Tuesday.

Franklin has a successful voluntary single-stream recycling program, with curbside collections made weekly. This fall, however, their new contractor announced he was going to charge by the truckload for processing the recycling. They began storing the recycling and now have about 150 tons.

"We were quickly becoming the talk of the town," said Caldwell. "But they were glad we're not landfilling."

Canceling the recycling program was not an option, so Caldwell had to go looking for alternatives.

She found Marshall County, where Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas and his staff take communities' single-stream recycling for free, sort and bale it, and make what they can from the final product: plastic, cardboard, paper, and so on.

"We're here to double your volume," said Caldwell. "We're coming to you for service, and our intent is a long-term agreement.

"I really appreciate the opportunity to work with you all," she continued.

After discussion, Caldwell, Thomas and the committee decided on a five-year agreement, with the possibility of three-year extensions.

County attorney Bill Haywood will be checking the agreement.

A resolution authorizing County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett to sign an agreement with the City of Franklin for recycling services will be presented at the commission meeting Monday, and committee members could see no reason why the full commission would not approve it.

Thomas told committee members this will require more equipment: a machine which automatically separates paper from containers and a machine which opens plastic bags, since Franklin residents put their recycling in special blue garbage bags.

The equipment could be funded by grants, or the department could borrow $500,000, and pay it back over five years. Since the annual revenue from Franklin's recycling could be as high as $350,000, this should not be a problem.

Thomas also told committee members he wanted to add a new full-time employee -- an equipment operator.

"I'm pretty confident we can add this position," he said. "It's needed."

The money for an additional employee for the rest of the budget year is already in the Solid Waste budget, it just has to be moved from one line item to another.

Committee members unanimously approved the hiring.

Some of Franklin's recycling is already in the Solid Waste building here, and they are working on it whenever they get a chance.

"We need to do what we can to help them," said committee member Seth Warf. "They're helping us. Let's keep a good working relationship."

As the meeting concluded, Caldwell said, "They're wonderful to work with," gesturing to Thomas and two of his staff members. "They're state-of-the-art -- top notch -- you couldn't ask for better!"

"It's because of these people," exclaimed Thomas, pointing to his solid waste committee members.

"The citizens don't know how fortunate we are to have Morgan and his staff," said Warf.

"Making it all work good, that's the thing," said Chairman Anna Childress. "It's not going to the landfill."