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Sanitation Department looks to increase recycling

Increasingly, states push for increased recycling.

Warren County Sanitation Department’s recycling averaged 13% during 2020 – approximately half of what will be needed to satisfy the state of Tennessee when stronger restrictions are placed, says Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts.

“I’m not satisfied with the recycling number being 13% for the year,” Roberts. “I’d like to see us above 25%. The state would like to see us above 25%. Here in the near future we have been told they are going to want us at 25%. We are working on that. We’re doing everything we can do in-house.”

Recycling last year generated $39,326 in revenue for the county.

Roberts is currently generating the department’s annual report for the state. For 2020, when it comes to household bagged garbage only, the department hauled 9,759 tons to Southern Central Services, a total of 1,518 loads at a cost of $442,575.

Other numbers:

• Paper materials, 11 tons at a cost of $519

• Cardboard, 321 tons and $3,464 received

• Metal, 353 tons and $31,584 received

• Aluminum cans, 6 tons and $3,685 received

• Batteries, 79 and $592 received

• Used tires, 26,118 passenger and 1,656 truck at a cost of $45,189

• Used oil, 18 tons

• Electronics, 20 tons

• Plastic, 43 tons

• Latex paint, 25 tons Roberts said the county’s recycling numbers could increase if the department had the ability to process its own recycled materials, “I would love to see us be able to process our recycled materials in-house one day.”

Previously requested from the county was $121,000 to construct a shed to house equipment and expand the county’s recycling efforts. A portion of that space would be used to begin processing materials that can be recycled.

Warren County Sheriff’s Department trustee program would be used to supply the labor as it does with the department’s tire recycling efforts.

While not rejected, the money to construct a shed was tabled by the county Budget and Finance Committee for later consideration. With a building, the department’s chances of obtaining grants for recycling equipment improves.

“We do apply each year for grants for these kinds of things,” said Roberts. “In 2020, they pulled all grants because of COVID. We are hoping this year, because we are on the downhill slide of the pandemic, that those will come back. We’ll apply for all the grants we can. If we had a building, it would look better to the state when we apply for grants. If we apply for a grant right now, they’ll ask us what type of building we have.”

Numbers for 2020 were presented to members of the county Health and Welfare Committee.