County needs more recycled materials to comply with law

Photo by Dave Boyd
Workers inside the Carter County Recycling Center prepare a bale of cardboard to be recycled.

By Lesley Jenkins
Star Staff
Carter County is cleaning. Though the time for spring cleaning has already passed, plenty of time remains to clean up yards and property in order to comply with the county's litter law, according to county officials. The Elizabethton/Carter County Recycling Center can help clear the clutter.
Code Enforcement Officer Craig Malone said: "I am hoping people can find out ways that they can get rid of part of their rubbish and stuff around their house at no cost to them. This will give them initiative to haul it off, versus, if they take it to the landfill, they've got to pay to get rid of it. If they find out they can rid of some of it for free then they will."
"Plus, this helps the environment," County Mayor Dale Fair added. "Anything we can recycle and put back into use that we don't have to put in the landfill benefits us all anyway. They can bring it here and recycle it, and, better yet, it keeps it out of our landfills in America. We just don't need to keep on putting this stuff in there that we can use."
The Elizabethton/Carter County Recycling Center has been advertised "on t.v., in the paper and on the radio, and that's about all the advertising we can do ... and people still don't know that we are back here," said Ed Buckles, solid waste director for the center.
Cardboard, glass, plastic and newsprint are materials that can be recycled at the center. "Cardboard and newsprint are recycled more than anything else mainly. Because that is the only good markets that we have got," said Buckles.
The center also accepts car batteries for recycling. Disposal of oil can be made in a tank at the Roan Mountain Transfer Station.
Residents can also bring recyclable materials to the Elizabethton landfill, 169 Landfill Rd. or to the Roan Mountain Transfer Station, U.S. Highway 19E. "It doesn't cost them anything to dispose of it at these sites," Buckles said.
Cardboard is baled then marketed through a state contracted company that picks up the bales and sells them. Over 45,000 pounds of cardboard are recycled each week through the center and then sold for nearly $1,800.
Sixty recycling bins are placed around Carter County and in Elizabethton at locations connected with the center.
The recycling center and county officials are also working to create a paint recycling center among neighboring counties. "When we have the household hazardous waste day, that's the biggest item we collect is used paint," said Buckles.
Fair said: "Were working up other avenues to help people comply and to keep our county a beautiful county. We are working on some other things, like what other counties are doing to encourage them to clean up their property. We can't do it all free but we can maybe have a day in the spring to where we can have a spring clean day. I know a county in Kentucky where sponsors set up in a Wal-Mart parking lot or something and people get stuff out of their yards and barns and fields and bring it in ...".
In the spring 2004, Fair and Malone hope to have a network system set up with local volunteer agencies and church groups willing to help people clean their property if they are physically unable. Malone has already contacted a man who is willing to haul junk cars off property if owners will let him keep the cars. Residents may contact Malone at 542-1834.
Unknown to many residents in the county and in the city of Elizabethton, the recycling center is located at 411 Cherokee Park Drive, Elizabethton. Hours of business are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Carter County landfill is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and until noon on Saturdays. The Roan Mountain location is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.