Roughly a ton of garbage is illegally dumped at county recycling center

Published 3:49 pm Friday, November 30, 2018

An incident this past Wednesday at a local unmanned recycling center in Elizabethton shed some light on an ongoing issue.

Someone illegally dumped nearly a ton of trash at the recycling center located near the Lions Field ballparks. Trash was thrown all around the ground in front of the bins located at the site.

“It was not recyclables,” said Carter County Solid Waster Director Benny Lyons. “It was 100 percent garbage. It was illegal dumping. There is signage down there saying not to dump on the asphalt or around the bins.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lyons said that anytime someone puts items that are not designated as recyclables in the bins, the bins become contaminated, and that any of the recyclables that had been properly thrown away at the recycling center then cannot be used, going to waste.

“If you contaminate one of those roll-off containers, then we have to take it to the landfill, and it can’t be recycled,” said Lyons. “Once someone contaminates it with dirty diapers or food waste, we can’t send it on down the line to the end user.”

Carter County has four unmanned recycling centers and Lyons said that there is an ongoing problem of individuals not correctly using the facilities.

“It seems that our unmanned stations are the places that they try to do it the most,” said Lyons. “Mill Street, we had some problems there. We put up some cameras and got some tag numbers. I try to go out and find the ones I can put a name to a face and educate them and ask them not to do that to us. It makes it tough on us.”

After being contacted by a county commissioner, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department took five or six trustees down to the recycling center and helped clean the trash up, said Lyons.

Lyons did go on to say that Carter County’s recycling program has picked up tremendously since it was started. There are recycling centers at Mill Street, Lions Field, and the Elizabethton Public Housing. Lyons also said that there are centers at the Carter County Landfill.