Not long ago, a local resident e-mailed and asked me, “Where does all of our recycled stuff go?” Since next Saturday is America Recycles Day, I thought that it might be a good time to share some information about the items that we recycle here in Liberty County and where the recycling journey takes them.
We have 12 recycling drop off locations throughout the county. At these ‘recycling barns,’ we accept newspaper — including the glossy ad sections — magazines, plastic bottles (PETE No. 1 and No. 2), aluminum cans, bi-metal (tin) cans, glass bottles (clear and colored) and cardboard.
Most of the items that are collected for recycling at these drop off centers are taken out to the recycling and processing center on Fort Stewart where they are sorted and packed for various end users to process and manufacture into new products. Most of the plastics are shipped to Mohawk Industries in Northeast Georgia to be recycled into carpet products. The cardboard is trucked to Interstate Paper and processed into paper products. Aluminum cans are sent to several facilities to be melted and then processed to manufacture more aluminum cans. Our used steel cans have a similar journey. Some plastics end up being manufactured into fence post and deck products.
Our recycling coordinator, Brenda Hearn, receives dated receipts from Fort Stewart for each load brought in detailing the types of items and the weight of each load. The Liberty County Solid Waste Department as well as Ron King, assistant qualified recycling program manager with the Fort Stewart recycling and processing center, both maintain documentation on the items turned in each year for recycling.
In fact, Ron shared with me that the recycling items turned in for Liberty County for this past year increased by four tons over the previous year. Great job, Liberty County. But let’s not forget that there are still tons of potentially recyclable items in Liberty County that are still being trashed.
We also collect paper products that are picked up by Southeast Paper Recycling. Solid Waste also gets dated receipts with weights from Southeast Paper for the paper goods that they pick up and take directly to their Garden City center.
Items, like electronics, that are collected at the Recycle It! Fairs that we hold quarterly and special annual events are either taken for recycling by Atlanta Recycling Solutions or Goodwill Industries. I arrange these events and receive dated acknowledgments with weights for each load from these events.
Paint collected in these quarterly events is logged and taken by me to the Habitat for Humanity Store in the area for re-use. Any cans that are too dried out or contaminated in some way — rusty, etc., — are disposed of properly by recommended methods. Used oil, antifreeze and automobile batteries also are collected at the Recycle It! fairs as well as daily at the Liberty County transfer station. Used oil and antifreeze also are collected at several of our auto parts stores. We periodically have used tire collection events for local residents as a part of our recycling program.
Try to remember on America Recycles Day that tossing those household items into the bins at the recycling barns is just the first step in the recycling journey for these items. Just think that soda you are drinking right now might be made of recycled aluminum from a soda can you recycled a few months ago! Thank you, Larry, for your interest in where all this stuff goes.
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful projects that need your involvement:
• Saturday, Nov. 15: America Recycles Day. Take the pledge to recycle at www.americarecyclesday.org. Also try out the ‘recycling conversionator’ to find out how your recycling efforts make a difference.
• Wednesday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m.: Liberty County: Home of the world’s largest crayon. The result of our Guinness Book of World Records project to make the world’s largest crayon will be unveiled at Lyman Hall Elementary. There will be an open house that afternoon. Call 368-4888 for information.
• Coastal Living/ Cottage Living Holiday House at Yellow Bluff is loaded with holiday ideas and ideas for living green, too. The house is open for tours from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Admission is $10 per person. Proceeds benefit our local United Way.
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.