Across the country, communities continue to search for creative ways to reduce and better manage Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), more commonly known as trash or garbage. The reason is clear. According to the EPA, we generate on average, more than 250 million tons of trash in the U.S. while recycling just 82 million tons, or about 32.5 percent. Bradley County’s three drop-off recycling centers play a major role in helping us manage and reduce the flow of MSW to the Bradley County Landfill.
Local governments have the primary role in the operation of recycling programs and I am pleased with the progress the county has shown in several areas of our recycling efforts. The year-end report shows that Bradley County residents recycled 768 tons of items that would have ended up in the landfill 20 years ago. The list includes: 142.4 tons of corrugated paper, 471.9 tons of mixed paper, 63.6 tons of glass, 5.7 tons of aluminum, 11.6 tons of white goods, 28.8 tons of construction and demolition materials, 5 tons of electronics and 39 tons of plastics.
The plastics recycling program was introduced to our Peerless Road and Urbane Road drop-off centers in May 2010, and has since expanded to include all plastics with numbers 1 through 7. The latest expansion involves the aluminum recycling effort which now accepts steel food cans. The electronics recycling program, which is located at the Peerless Road drop-off center, was launched in October 2009 and continues to grow.
The continued expansion of the recycling program is clear evidence that it enjoys broad support from the community as we work together to preserve the environment and extend the life of the county landfill. The numbers above show that through your efforts, 1,536,000 pounds of trash and garbage was diverted away from the Bradley County Landfill in 2011.
With that said, there is an argument to be made for more attention to recycling which reduces the need for landfilling and incineration. Recycling helps protect the environment, preserves natural resources and creates jobs as used consumer goods are collected, converted back into raw materials and remade into new consumer products. Nationwide, the recycling industry has created 1.1 million U.S. jobs and for every ton of paper we recycle, 17 trees are saved.
Another benefit is the credit the state gives Bradley County toward our 25 percent waste reduction goal.
Recycling is voluntary in Bradley County because the cost of collection, transportation and the sorting involved with curbside recycling exceeds the value of the materials recovered. Therefore, I want to urge each citizen to make a commitment to recycling.
We provide three conveniently located drop-off centers. The landfill center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Peerless Road Center is located behind the Farmer’s Market and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. The Urbane Road Center at the recreation complex is open Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, beginning this Saturday we are extending the Saturday hours to 3 p.m.
Recycled computers and electronics are only accepted at the Peerless Road drop-off center. Monitors and televisions cannot be recycled; however, they can be taken to the Bradley County Landfill.
Our local recycling efforts are very important. We are helping to extend the life of the landfill, creating jobs and conserving energy. That’s good for you, the taxpayer, and it’s good for the environment.
I ask everyone to join in our recycling efforts. This is truly another way to show that Bradley County is … Tennessee at its best.