In Greene County, citizens who wish to recycle start the process by sorting their trash, separating paper, plastic, metal and other recyclables from garbage, and taking the recyclable materials to the proper locations.

The respective waste management officials are then able to take only trash to the landfills and make use of recyclables by selling or donating them.

The Greene County Commission established 17 convenience centers where all county citizens may dispose of their garbage, as well as drop off recyclables in specified bins.

The Town of Greeneville also has six recycling centers located throughout town to collect plastics, cardboard and paper. Greeneville residents may also take recyclables to the county convenience centers.

The City of Tusculum has the county’s only curbside recycling program.

BENEFITS

Recyclable material is usually sold by the respective governing body, sometimes creating financial benefits for their citizens.

Selling off recyclable materials also reduces the amount of refuse that goes to the local and regional landfills to be buried, extending the life of the landfills and saving taxpayer money in the long run.

Greeneville Public Works Director Brad Peters reported that in the 2018 fiscal year, 436 tons of cardboard was sold for $38,424; 157 tons of mixed paper was sold for $6,863; 100,270 tons of plastic was disposed of for no revenue since there is no market for plastic; and, 35 tons of tin or light steel was sold for $6,053.

Peters also pointed out that the prices for recyclables are steadily dropping. The price for cardboard has dropped from $89.06 in the 2018 fiscal year to $60 in the current fiscal year. Similar trends apply to tin or light steel dropping from $168.71 to $144 per ton. Mixed paper, however, upholds from $44.06 to $45

“The numbers are holding steady from a participation standpoint but prices have dropped,” Peters wrote in an email to The Greeneville Sun. “The rule of thumb has typically been that the recycling market — particularly plastics — follows the crude oil market.”

As crude oil gets cheaper, so does the recycling market, Peters wrote, but that hasn’t been the case locally. A representative of the Greene County Solid Waste Department concurred.

All of Greeneville’s recyclables are sold to Greeneville Iron and Metal, he added.

Greene County government sells the county’s recycling to either Greeneville Iron and Metal or WestRock Recycling in Knoxville, depending on the quantity recycled in a particular month.

Tusculum City Recorder John Lamb said that the city’s recycling is not sold, but rather given to Pliny Fisk Composting and Recycling Center in Jonesborough.

Other local organizations work alongside government to ensure recycling participation among citizens.

The Greene County Partnership’s Keep Greene Beautiful initiative works to achieve its goal of a cleaner and more beautiful community through educating children and adults on the importance of litter control and solid-waste practices, director Jennifer Wilder explained.

She added that Keep Greene Beautiful is dedicated to maintaining a continuing litter control program, to promoting public interest in maintenance of a clean and beautiful environment, and to instilling environmental and solid waste management ethics.

Some of the programs are Free Electronic Recycling Day and Free Hazardous Household Collection.

“Keep Greene Beautiful has held a free electronic recycling day the first Friday in May for the last several years,” Wilder said. “Businesses really take advantage of this day because it is free.”

Greeneville City and Greene County schools all have recycling bins on campus, which town and county officials then collect.

WHAT TO RECYCLE

AND HOW

At the county convenience centers, residents can recycle plastic, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum cans, glass, four used tires per year, batteries, metal, demolition — such as old tables, couches, mattresses, etc. — used computers and monitors, used motor oil, along with household trash. Brush, tree limbs or lumber is not accepted at the convenience centers.

Each residence may dispose of four used tires per year. The tally is kept by the workers posted at each convenience center, according to a Greene County Solid Waste Department representative.

Six of the convenience centers also have textile bins that accept used clothing, linens, shoes, belts and purses.

The Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society accepts plastic bags filled with clean, empty aluminum beverage cans for recycling and uses the proceeds to support homeless, adoptable animals.

The Greeneville Public Works Department accepts oil-based paint, oil, antifreeze, car and truck batteries for town citizens only. County residents can take oil-based paint to the Hal Henard convenience center. Latex paint can be donated if the container is full or can be mixed with cat litter or mulch and thrown in the garbage.

Tusculum citizens may collect an orange recycling bin at Tusculum City Hall. Recycling is collected curbside every second and fourth Monday.

Greeneville Iron and Metals accepts aluminum, auto batteries, brass, cardboard, cast iron, copper, electronic scrap, industrial scrap, junk cars, radiators, stainless steel, tin and transmissions. PSC Metals also accept all kinds of auto, appliances, copper, brass, aluminum and ferrous metals. No televisions or monitors are accepted at either location.

Keep Greene Beautiful also lends out recycle bins for events. Call 638-4111 for more information.

Indivisible Greene County can also provide recycling services for events. They will bring bins to an event and collect the full bins when the event is over. Contact Belle Baccheschi at motherbelle@yahoo.com for more information.