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County recycling director addresses changes

recycle traffic lanes

     The flow pattern of traffic at the new county recycling center will help alleviate backups. Upon entering, customers who only have bagged household garbage will be directed left and travel around the recycling bays (the seven blocks located at the front right of the building) to dump their trash. Customers with recyclables will be directed right and stop at bays to drop off sorted recyclable materials. 


Submitted by Kenny Woodard

Director of Pickens County Waste & Recycling 


The staff and management of Pickens County Recycling would like to say thank you to the county residents for being patient with us during the changing of the way things are done at the Camp Road Recycling and Cove Road Recycling centers. These changes are to help better the way things are run and accepted at both locations and the new center.

   Reason for changes: In the last couple of months we have changed the ways trash and recycling is being taken. Let me explain. At both recycling centers we have a compactor that is for single-stream recyclables. These containers have been being used to collect recyclables. About 60 percent of the things dropped off in these containers are actually recyclable


material, but the other 40 percent is not. There are food containers with food still left in the trays. Our vendors that purchase these recyclables will not accept this due to the contamination. Cardboard boxes containing Styrofoam is considered contaminated. Motor oil containers are contaminated with the oil residue left in the bottles. Pizza boxes have cheese and oil contamination left in them, these are not accepted. For me to be able to sell these recyclables they have to be clean. If they are contaminated in a load they can cause a whole load of recyclables to be rejected and the vendor will send it to the landfill and charge us a dispose fee. 


Other reasons for changes:  When a load of single-stream recyclables is filled at the center and is ready for pick up, it costs $175 to be pulled and delivered to Rock Tenn. We average at Camp Road three loads a week and one load a week from Cove Road recycling. That’s $700 a week. Plus our cardboard open-top containers get pulled to the same place. There are two cardboard containers and they average both two times a week to be pulled at $175. That’s another $700. Just the recycling alone cost the county $1,400 a week on average for recycling. So that’s $5,600 a month or $67,200 a year for just recycling with no return. This is why we need everyone to recycle the correct way, so we can bale these commodities and sell them ourselves. 

Our new baler was installed at the end of June and we started that day baling our cardboard. As of today we have baled 29 bales of cardboard with an average weight of 1,200 pounds a bale. That’s 34,800 pounds of cardboard we have saved out of the landfill and money we have saved by bringing it to the new center to be processed. It takes a load of about 42,000 lbs. before we can load a trailer to sell.

    This takes us to the last change that has been made - the C & D (Construction and  Demolition Debris).  What was being charged to drop off C&D did not come close to paying for the loads being hauled off and the charge to get rid of the material. C&D was bleeding the county for money to cover this.  For the month of May we were billed just for C&D $10,948.62. That’s 223.7 tons or 447,400 lbs. of C&D. The 40-yard open-top containers that the C&D goes into were pulled 53 times during  the month of May.

    With all this being said, you can see why changes needed to be made. When the new center is completed and ready to open, it will be a more up-to-date center and location. Recycling is going to be made easier for recyclers. You will have to option to recycle or pay a dollar fee for each  bagged trash bag. We will still be taking mattress and furniture for a fee. Glass recycle is still free and metal drop off is also free. Refrigerators will have a dump fee. Oil and antifreeze can be dropped off with no fee. Tires will be accepted with a fee.  

     We will offer a free shredding for your documents. Just remove all paper from folders and paper clips. This helps with the speed of the process when shredding. Please call ahead of time to set up an appointment due to everyone wanting to use this service. I hope I have answered some of the questions going around about what changes are going on. 

    Thank you and continue to be patient with the new changes.