UNION COUNTY — A new system of recycling that makes it easier to recycle a variety of items while saving the county money is proving quite popular with the public according to Union County Public Works Director John Gibson.
On Aug. 8, the county began “comingle or single stream recycling” at its recycling convenience centers. With comingle recycling, county residents no longer have to separate plastics, paper, glass, cardboard, and aluminum cans for disposal in separate recycling bins. Instead, those items can be placed together in one of several bins provided by Pratt Industries which collects the contents of those bins on a weekly basis and takes them to its state-of-the-art automated facility where the items are then separated for recycling.
Gibson said his department has received positive feedback about comingle recycling.
“Everything seems to be going fine,” Gibson said. “We’ve talked to some folks we’ve seen at the recycling centers and the public seems to like it.”
As the new system got under way, convenience recycling center personnel presented residents with leaflets stating what materials were acceptable for comingle recycling. The materials include:
• Office papers
• Junk mail
• Phone books
• Corrugated cardboard
• Plastic containers 1-7
• Aluminum cans
• Steel cans
Gibson pointed out that the types of plastic that can be recycled through the new system is an increase over the types that could be recycled under the old system. He said that while the new system can accept Plastics 1-7, the old system could only accept Plastics 1-2 which meant things like plastic plates and tops could not be recycled. These items can now be recycled under the comingle system.
While recyclable plastics, glass, cardboard, paper, and aluminum cans no longer have to be separated from each other, they still must be separated from household garbage. Batteries, used motor oil, white goods, metal, and carpets must continue to be separated for recycling as well. Also, before disposing of the cardboard in the bins, residents are urged to break them down and make sure they are clean of any food materials.
In addition to making it easier for the public to recycle, the county also implemented comingle recycling to reduce costs. Under the new system the county no longer has to bale the materials in the public works department warehouse and then transport them for recycling. This is projected to save the county $50,000 a year as Pratt Industries handles their collection and transport at no charge to the county.
The leaflets handed out by recycling convenience center personnel also pointed out the environmental realities related to recycling:
• “Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and enough electricity to heat your home for 6 months.”
• “Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough electricity to run your television for 3 hours.”
• “Americans use 2,500,000 PET bottles per hour, most are not recycled!”
• “Recycling creates 5 times as many jobs as landfilling!”
Union County is the 26th county in South Carolina to implement comingle or single stream recycling. The other 25 counties that have comingle recycling include Spartanburg, York, Cherokee, Chester, Laurens and Greenville.
Comingle recycling is the latest step the county has taken to reduce costs while maintaining it recycling program. As of July 1, the county implemented new hours at 10 of its recycling convenience centers and close the center on South Pinckney Street. The changes are projected to save the county $145,000 in fiscal 2013-2014 while enabling it to continue to operate its remaining recycling convenience centers. The 10 remaining centers are open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. the following days:
• Bonham (S.C. 18) — Monday, Friday, and Saturday
• Monarch (Old Landfill) — Monday, Friday, and Saturday
• Carlisle — Tuesday and Saturday
• Santuc — Thursday and Saturday
• Lockhart — Thursday and Saturday
• Jonesville — Monday, Friday, and Saturday
• Kelton — Tuesday and Saturday
• John Hart Road — Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
• Southside (Airport Road) — Monday, Friday, and Saturday
• Cross Keys — Thursday and Saturday
All the centers are closed on Wednesdays.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.