Carter recycling efforts still stalled by recent fire

John Thompson • Aug 29, 2019 at 10:29 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A recent fire at the Carter County Recycling Center has shut down the recycling operations of the city of Elizabethton and Carter County.

Among the groups feeling the impact of the shutdown is the Keep Carter County Beautiful organization, which had recently purchased several thousand dollars worth of recycling bags and stands to encourage recycling at various public events.

The impact of the shutdown was discussed Thursday evening at the monthly meeting of Keep Carter County Beautiful. Benny Lyons, manager of the Carter County Landfill, and the supervisor of the county’s recycling operation, attended the meeting to discuss the shutdown.

Lyons said the fire-damaged equipment and also exposed asbestos. It is not certain whether the recycling center will rebuild at the current location, the former water treatment plant for the old Bemberg Rayon plant.

There are alternative locations in which to locate the recycling center. One is a building between the Snap-on factory and the Elizabethton Electric Department.

Lyons said the shutdown is costing the county’s recycling effort $10,000 per month. That includes the money lost that could have been earned by selling recyclables and also the rental money the county would have collected from the many stores and other operations that rented recycling bins from the county.

Edward Jordan, chairman of Keep Carter County Beautiful, said the stoppage came at a bad time because momentum for recycling had been growing in the county.

In other matters, the board discussed two illegal dump sites in the Poga area. One of the sites was on private property and the other was on land owned by the Cherokee National Forest. Both locations were at the bottom of vertical cliffs and were many feet below the road.

It was felt the community cleanup effort that had been so successful in cleaning up illegal dump sites at the Blue Hole in Stoney Creek and on Teaberry Road in Roan Mountain. This site was said to be too dangerous. Jordan said he would talk with forestry officials and find out what resources were available and what could be done to clean up the dump sites.

Jordan said one of the next organizational events will be another cleanup of the Milligan Highway, which Keep Carter County Beautiful periodically maintains as a part of the state Adopt a Highway program. He said the next one will be part of a statewide effort coordinated by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

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