Recycling operations suspended in Carter County

Published 11:39 am Thursday, April 2, 2020

Carter County has suspended all recycling operations until further notice.
The decision comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation. Benny Lyons, Director of Solid Waste, said that this is to avoid the containment of items, as well as inmates no longer being able to work at the facility. Inmates are currently on lockdown in response to the virus as well.
The closure began Wednesday morning with barricades being put up at drop-off points.
“They are shut down completely now,” Lyons said. “This is until further notice when we feel more comfortable about the situation, once COVID starts slowing and the curve starts dropping off to where medical people get comfortable with what is going on. I think once they’re comfortable, then we will be comfortable.”
Lyons said those working at the Recycling Center will be finishing up work on the remainder of recyclables in the facility this week.
While recycling operations have shut down, the landfill will remain open and precautions have been put in place.
“Now when people come to the landfill they have to unload their own bags,” he said. “We aren’t going to touch any bags or anything we have to touch with our hands. So basically, we can load the trash by machine. If we have to touch it by hand, we aren’t going to deal with it.”
In addition to people unloading their own bags, which was previously done by inmates as a courtesy, there are now measures in place with payment transactions as well to prevent possible transmissions.
“We have processes in place here where the girls at the drive thru window wear gloves. We put a shield over the window with a slot at the bottom to where they are not getting direct contact to sneezes or stuff of that matter coming through on them,” Lyons said.
Along with the precautions now in place, should someone who works in the landfill contract the virus, operations will become a skeleton crew of workers to keep things going as needed.
While Lyons encourages people to hang on to their recyclables at this time, they can be thrown away at the landfill along with other trash. This will cost a fee as does other items at the landfill. It costs $42.50 per ton, and $1 per bag of trash.
“We do ask people not to throw their recyclables off at the drop-off centers,” he said. “If they want to hang on to their recyclables, hang on to it. We will open back up eventually.”

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