Carter County still searching for new place to locate its recycling center

John Thompson • Sep 9, 2019 at 10:58 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County still does not have a building to replace the county recycling center destroyed in a fire Aug. 3.

But it appears the county may have a building a week from now. The Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission looked at one possible replacement Monday night.

The committee examined a 5,000-square-foot building off Hatcher Lane. The committee will look at a building that is approximately 45,000 square feet on Cherokee Park Drive.

The Landfill Committee will hold a meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, just an hour before the Carter County Commission convenes. The committee is expected to decide between two possible recycling center locations and recommend one to the County Commission for a final vote later that evening.

The action by the County Commission has been long awaited by Benny Lyons, manager of the Carter County Landfill and head of the county’s recycling effort; and by Danny Hilbert, street and sanitation manager for Elizabethton and head of recycling for the city.

Lyons has said the unplanned discontinuation of recycling is costing the county more than $10,000 per month. Hilbert said he is frequently asked when the recycling service will start again. He said people continue to stuff cardboard into cardboard recycling bins until they hold far more cardboard than they were designed to hold.

Just to make space, Hilbert said his crews have had to run the cardboard through the scales for regular household waste at the county landfill, paying to have the cardboard dumped in a landfill instead of earning money for the county through recycling. Cardboard is one of the most profitable recycling items. 

Lyons expects a replacement to be ready for open house in November.

Hilbert, who oversees the trash collection for the city of Elizabethton, took the opportunity to tell the county committee that his employees are pleased with the recent change for the city of Elizabethton.

After driving their full garbage trucks to the Iris Glen Environment Center in Johnson City for many years, the city recently changed to disposing of its trash at the transfer station in the Carter County Landfill.

“Our employees are very pleased,” Hilbert said. “They don’t have to go through a mudhole anymore.” He said the change “is better on our equipment and on our fuel (usage).”

In other landfill matters, Lyons said the construction on the new Roan Mountain convenience station for the Carter County Landfill is nearing completion.

Prior to the Landfill Committee meeting, the members met as the Education Committee. Supervisor Danny McClain reported that the new online academy had 148 students. That total included 60 students who have never been part of the Carter County School System before.

On another internet educational matter, McClain said the school system has received a $280,000 grant to place wireless internet in the last six schools in the school system that were not already wireless.


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