The size and diversity of Union County’s recycling program continued to grow in fiscal 2011-2012 with new materials being recycled and the county earning over $100,0oo from the more than 600 tons it recycled during the year.
In October 2011, Public Works Director John Gibson reported that the county had recycled 242.80 tons of glass, metal, mixed paper, cardboard, used motor oil, electronic waste and plastic, generating $46,300.77 in revenue during the first four months of fiscal 2011-2012.
On Friday, Gibson reported that as of the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the county had recycled a total of 667 tons of materials, generating $102,399.99 in revenue.
The recycled materials included:
• 1.88 tons of aluminum
• 27.02 tons of clear glass
• 8.69 tons of colored glass
• 178.43 tons of cardboard
• 24.08 tons of used motor oil
• .15 tons of car batteries
• 164.83 tons of metal
• 16.94 tons of No. 1 plastic
• 9.96 tons of No. 2 plastic
• 50.30 tons of electronic waste
• 1.37 tons of rechargeable batteries
Gibson said the materials collected for recycling at the convenience centers are recycled through arrangements the county has with a variety of businesses and other organizations including the Union Rotary Club which buys the aluminum cans collected.
Rotary uses the funds raised through its aluminum project to support a variety of local organizations such as the Union County Carnegie Library, Meals on Wheels and CrimeStoppers.
Businesses the county has contracted with and/or partnered with include Pratt Industries which recycles the mixed paper, cardboard and plastics. The company also provides the county with a trailer to store the materials until they are ready to be hauled away.
Glass collected by the county is purchased by Reflective Recycling in Pacolet.
Used motor oil is purchased from the county by Haz-Mat, a company based in Charlotte, N.C. While it doesn’t pay for it, Gibson said the company also takes the oil filters collected at the convenience centers and recycles them at no charge to the county.
The electronic waste collected by the county is recycled by ecycleSecure which Gibson said is also based in Charlotte. He said ecycleSecure does not pay for the electronic waste it receives from the county, but does haul it away and recycles it for free. This relieves the county of the cost of recycling materials.
In April, the county began accepting carpets for recycling.
The county has entered into an agreement with Wellman Plastics Recycling out of Johnsonville to recycle the carpets it collects. The carpets are collected at the county’s recycling convenience centers and then stored in a trailer provided by Wellman. Once the trailer is full, the company will transport the carpets to its Johnsonville facility where they will recycle the plastic for use as stuffing in furniture and as extruded pellets for use by mold injection facilities in the manufacturing of automotive parts.
Wellman doesn’t pay the county for the carpets, but in announcing the agreement with the company earlier this year, Gibson said the county still benefits from the arrangement. Gibson said recycling carpet or any other material reduces the costs the county incurs disposing of the waste it collects at the convenience centers. He said recycling also reduces the waste stream going into the Union County Landfill, extending the life expectancy of the facility.
In addition to carpets, the county is also collecting used antifreeze and cooking oil.
Like the carpets, Gibson said not enough antifreeze and cooking oil has been collected to be sent off to be recycled yet. The antifreeze and cooking oil are currently being stored in tanks at the recycling convenience centers.
Haz-Mat will recycle the antifreeze at no cost to the county, while Mahoney Environmental will do the same with the cooking oil. The tanks use for storing the materials were provided by the companies.
While it generated no revenue, the recycling of more than 50 tons of tires in 2011-2012 generated health and environmental benefits for the county.
In October, Gibson announced that the county had recycled 32.7 tons of tires in the first four months of the year.
By June 30, the number had grown to 51.18 tons.
The cost of recycling tires exceeds the revenue generated, but Gibson said the county still benefits because it keeps the tires out of the environment where they can become a health problem by collecting water that in turn becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The expansion of the county recycling program continued in the current fiscal year with the announcement that work would be completed on a recycling convenience center in the Town of Carlisle.
Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair announced in July that the county would use three grants totaling $100,000 to finish the facility which will be located off S.C. 215 in the center of the town.
Ten recycling convenience centers are located throughout Union County including the Bonham center on S.C. 18; the center on the Old Landfill Road off Neal Shoals Road; in Santuc on Suber Lane; in Lockhart on Old Union Road; in Jonesville on Long Avenue; Kelly-Kelton on Mt. Joy Church Road; Buffalo on John Hart Road; at the Union County Airport on Sardis Road; Cross Keys on S.C. 49; and in Union on South Pinckney Street.
An 11th center to be located in Carlisle was planned and construction started but was never completed.
Sinclair said in July that the grant will enable the county to complete the center. He said it is hoped the facility will begin operations by the middle of the fall.
The Carlisle center will be different from the others currently in operation. It will be designed so that residents can drive up and dispose of their waste and/or recyclables by simply dropping them over a wall into a bin rather than lifting them up.
Like all but one of the other recycling convenience centers currently in operation, the Carlisle center will collect plastic jugs and bottles; aluminum; corrugated cardboard; newspaper, magazines and other paper; used motor oil; metal products; antifreeze; cooking oil; carpets, thermostats containing mercury and household waste.
The center on South Pinckney Street in Union does not collect household garbage.
Another community that will be getting a new recycling convenience center is Bonham.
In August, it was announced that the Bonham center would be closed to accommodate the construction of the Gonvauto South Carolina steel service center.
Once the Gonvauto facility is built, the county plans to build a new state-of-the-art recycling convenience center for the Bonham community. The center will be located several hundred feet back from the location of the old facility.
Until then, a temporary convenience center accepting only household garbage and cardboard is in place on a hill next to the public works department warehouse off S.C. 18.
Electronic waste previously accepted at the Bonham facility will now be handled by the recycling convenience center in the Sardis community.
The Sardis facility will also accept tires from Bonham residents.
For more information about Union County’s recycling program, call 429-2807.