UNION COUNTY — The savings realized by a new form of recycling implemented earlier this year is enabling the county to extend the days of operation at its recycling convenience centers.
On Aug. 8, Union County implemented “comingle” or “single stream” recycling through an agreement with Pratt Industries. 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 at each of the county’s 10 recycling convenience centers. The company 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 separated for recycling.
Union County Public Works Director John Gibson said Monday that the implementation of comingle recycling is saving the county more than $80,000 a year. Gibson said these savings include $40,000 realized from the retirement of a county employee who worked in the public works department warehouse and was not replaced. He said other savings include the elimination of the cost of the fuel used by the roll off and pickup trucks, hyster and bobcat used in the recycling program ($11,000); reduced utility costs ($4,000); the elimination of the maintenance costs associated with the hyster, bobcat, and baling machine at the warehouse ($3,000); the elimination of the need to purchase baling wire ($8,000); and incidental costs ($14,000).
In addition, Gibson said the implementation of comingle recycling has meant the elimination of the large containers the county previously used and the cost of their maintenance.
Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said that Monday that it is the savings the county has realized through comingle recycling that enabled Union County Council to vote this past week to add another day of operation at each of the recycling convenience centers.
“Each center has had a new day added to it,” Sinclair said. “The large centers are now open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The smaller centers are open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. They are open 12-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday.
“The effect of this is that other than Sunday every day of the week there will be recycling centers open each day throughout the county at different places,” he said. “They will all be open Saturday.”
Open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. will be the Bonham (S.C. 18), Monarch (Old Landfill), Jonesville, Southside (Airport), and John Hart Road centers.
Open on Tuesday and Thursday from 12-6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m-6 p.m. will be the Carlisle, Santuc, Lockhart, Kelton, and Cross Keys centers.
The new schedule, which takes effect Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, is the latest change in the operations of the recycling convenience centers since the beginning of the current fiscal year.
At the end of June, the county closed its recycling convenience center located on South Pinckney Street next to the Union County Communications Department because of a lack of use. The other 10 centers remained open, but began operating under new hours at the beginning of July.
Before the new hours of operation were implemented, many of the recycling convenience centers were open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. Others operated on different schedules, but all were closed on Wednesdays.
With the new hours, the largest of the centers — Bonham (S.C. 18), Monarch (Old Landfill), Jonesville, and Southside (Airport Road) — would be open Monday, Friday, and Saturday; Carlisle and Kelton on Tuesday and Thursday; Santuc, Lockhart, and Cross Keys centers on Thursday and Saturday; and the John Hart Road center on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Regardless of their size, however, the hours of operation for each of the centers under the new schedule is 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
The purpose of this new schedule was to reduce the costs incurred by the county in the operation of the recycling convenience center while providing those services. The new schedule was estimated to save the county $145,000 while continuing to provide those services.
Since then, however, Union County Council has made further adjustments to the schedule voting in September to change the days of operation of the Bonham, Monarch, Jonesville, and Southside centers to Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The change was made in response to feedback from the public and was designed to keep the center from having to operate in the dark during winter. While the days of operation were changed, the hours of operation were not.
Council then voted in November to change the operating schedule at the Cross Keys facility from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday to 12-7 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m-7 p.m. Saturday. The change was made at the request of residents of the Cross Keys community who said it would make it more convenient for them to bring their recyclables and other garbage to the center.
Sinclair also announced Monday that all of the recycling convenience centers will be open Thursday, Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, and on Saturday, Dec. 27.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org