Keep Carter County Beautiful leader concerned about closure of two recycling centers in city

Published 3:40 pm Friday, January 20, 2023

The City of Elizabethton has announced the closure of two recycling centers — one at Lion’s Field and a second on E. Mill St., leaving only the main recycling center at 410 Cherokee Park Drive open. The two centers have been operated by Carter County’s solid waste department on land provided by the city.
This is a cause of concern for Don Hlavaty, chairman of Keep Carter County Beautiful. Hlavaty said he believes shutting down the recycling centers in Elizabethton was a poor decision. City leaders blame the closures on the lack of personnel to operate the centers, notably truck drivers. Also, they say one of the complaints of those using the recycling center at Cherokee Park Drive is that the bins are too small.
Benny Lyons, Carter County Landfill Director, said he hoped in the near future to install a concrete pad outside the gates of the recycling center that could house dumpsters. However, cameras would need to be installed for security and to identify any illegal dumping.
Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes in an email said that due to operational and staffing issues “the county has decided to consolidate recycling collections to their facility at 411 Cherokee Park Drive and no longer service the Lions Field and Mill Street locations.”
When the recycling centers were closed briefly last year, Lyons when questioned about it at a county commission meeting said the pay for truck drivers was low and recycling center work is “nasty.”
Hlavaty urges all parties involved to sit down and work out the issues preventing the county and city from being successful recyclers. “There are so many benefits and so few challenges, the decision should be easy…I believe shutting down the recycling center in Elizabethton is a poor decision,” Hlavaty said in his letter.
The two closed recycling centers accepted cardboard, paper, aluminum, used motor oil, metal, and tin cans, but is not accepting plastics for recycling at this time.
Hlavaty has suggested making Cherokee Park Recycling Center an actual convenience center where all the dumpsters are available to all the people 24 hours a day. Presently, the centers are open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

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