published Friday, October 21st, 2011

Bradley County expands plastics recycling with RockTenn

By Paul Leach
Steve Melton, supervisor of Bradley County's recycling centers, stands by the recycling bins for plastic at the Peerless Road center.
Photo by Paul Leach
Steve Melton, supervisor of Bradley County's recycling centers, stands by the recycling bins for plastic at the Peerless Road center. Photo by Paul Leach

RECYCLING CENTERS


• Peerless Road Recycling Center, 3110 Peerless Road, Cleveland; hours: 1-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday

• Urbane Road Recycling Center, 234 Urbane Road, Cleveland; hours: 1-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Bradley County residents now can recycle more plastic than ever.

What's more, they can make steel cans a part of their recycling efforts.

The county recently entered an agreement with RockTenn that will allow Bradley to expand its recycling program. No longer are recyclers limited to No. 1 and No. 2 plastics such as bottles and jugs used for soda, milk and liquid detergent.

"We take pretty much everything except plastic bags," said Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.

Plastic items stamped No. 1 through No. 7 will be accepted at the Peerless Road and Urbane Road recycling centers, he said.

The plastic the county now accepts includes plenty of everyday items such as containers for butter, yogurt and other dairy products and disposable fountain drink cups.

Residents may drop off acceptable plastics in marked bins at each recycling center, said Steve Melton, the county recycling center supervisor.

"It's a great convenience," said Melton, noting that RockTenn handles all the plastic sorting at a local facility.

The county's recycling program, renewed in spring 2010, was processed by Orange Grove Recycling Center in Chattanooga until the recent shift to RockTenn.

"Orange Grove did a fantastic job," said Dan Howell, executive assistant to the county mayor.

The program with Orange Grove saved the county money by saving landfill space, but the costs and benefits were pretty much "a wash," Howell said.

"Our relationship with RockTenn allows us to realize some funds and put some money back in the county's recycling program," he said.

It is too early to measure the response of local residents to the expansion of recycling. However, Howell said that plastics were the "No. 1" request for the county's recycling program in the few years it did not accept them.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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