New recycling center celebrates opening with open house

Members of the Carter County community gathered Thursday night to celebrate the opening of the new Recycling Center with an Open House.

Commissioners and other community members got the chance to tour the facility, formerly Lewis Wood Products on Cherokee Park Drive in Elizabethton, and see what it had to offer.

“I think good things really do come out of bad,” Solid Waste Director Benny Lyons said.

When the original Recycling Center burned down last August, the county had no means of recycling much of anything for nearly six months. During that time, residents either had to take their recycling elsewhere or add it to the Landfill, which Lyons said was a sad outcome.

“If we did not recycle, its lifespan would go from a 100-year landfill to a 65-year landfill,” he said.

The purchase of Lewis Wood Products last month coincided with the ability for the original location to collect cardboard only, a policy that Lyons said will continue until February 1.

After six months of not being able to, he said it is crucial people utilize the new recycling center, as the amount they process and sell from there directly translates into revenue for the county.

“We sell cardboard for about $15 a pound,” Lyons said.

The new facility includes a better weight scale, allowing forklifts to simply drive over it and weigh how much recycling they are taking in. In addition, the new location is a little more closed-off from the general public due to its access point, though the public is still encouraged to utilize its services.

Lyons said the “cleaner” their recycling is, the more it will sell for.

“I would like them to be more mindful of what they recycle,” he said. “Do not contaminate it with household trash.”

In addition, he said, they only want to recycle type 1 and 2 plastics, distinguished by markings on each plastic product.

Lyons said he wanted to thank everyone in Carter County for bearing with them as he and the Landfill Committee worked to find a solution to the recycling problem for the last six months.

“Thank you for your patience,” Lyons said. “This is going to give us a chance to set back up and provide better service.”

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