So why are the recycling drop-off locations closed?

Published 4:32 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

One of the burning questions that some local Carter County residents are asking is, “Why are the convenient recycling centers located on Mill Street and at Lions Field closed?”

So much so that during the recent Carter County Landfill Committee meeting, Kelly Collins, 8th District Commissioner serving the Harold McCormick and Elizabethton High School area, posed the question to Landfill Director Benny Lyons as Collins stated that she had received several calls about when the Blackbottom recycling center would reopen and what was going on.

The question came during the Commissioner Comments portion of the Landfill Committee meeting.

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“Miss Collins, as far as to address that, I had two drivers out at once sick and I called Danny Hilbert at the City to let him know they were out sick,” said Lyons in responding to Collins’s question.

“They were out three days and he called me and told me he was shutting it down because we couldn’t keep it cleaned out so he has not opened it back up. It’s up to him. Those are his sites.

“We will service them if he opens them back up.”

Collins responded back after Lyons’ answer stating that she didn’t know if it was totally the City opening or closing the locations or what to which Lyons responded, “Oh no the City closed it. The City was the very one that closed it this time.”

Committee Chairman Gary Bailey questioned Lyons on whether it was due to plastic or cardboard or just that it couldn’t be kept cleaned out.

“No, in Danny’s defense — about four days before this happened, I sent Danny some pictures,” Lyons said. “Someone had put about 1800 pounds of hardwood floor in the cardboard dumpster — hardwood flooring in the cardboard dumpsters so that may be another reason he had closed them down is that those are for cardboard and not your trash.”

The Star reached out to Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes to follow up on when the recycling centers might be opened back up and received a completely different take on why the centers have not been opened back up as of yet.

“Regarding the recycling drop-off locations on Mill St. and at Lions Field — these locations operate as a partnership between City and County,” Estes shared. “The City has arranged for the recycling drop-off locations, and the County is responsible for collecting the recyclables.

“Unfortunately, the recyclables were not being collected by the County, to the point that recyclables were overflowing the dumpsters and piling up on the ground.

“City staff spoke to County Landfill staff numerous times to have the recyclables collected, but to no avail. The City stands ready to open these locations again when the County is willing and able to collect the recyclables on a regular basis.”

Estes provided the Star with a photo taken on March 8 showing a large amount of overflow around the collection bins on Mill St. A recent photo taken showed where the City had gone into the center and cleaned up the area and hauled all of the material to the county landfill.