The landfill in McDuffie County shouldn't be so crowded these days because the Thomson-McDuffie Recycle Drop-Off facility takes everything but the kitchen sink.
"When I buckled down and got aggressive with recycling at my house, I ended up having only one bag of trash per week. The rest of it goes into recycling," said Thomson City Administrator Don Powers. "And I've got three kids."
Evidently, the Powers arent the only ones in the county taking recycling seriously. Public Works Director Peter Ruddick said 80.31 tons of paper, plastic, glass and metals were recycled in January and February.
Local businesses have jumped on the bandwagon, too, making corrugated cardboard the number one material recycled in McDuffie County. Milton Neal at the recycle center said the McCorkle Nurseries, IGA grocery store and Dollar General send all the cardboard boxes their stock is delivered in. Local residents not only send in corrugated cardboard, but anything else made of cardboard, including cereal boxes and other food boxes.
And the U.S. Postal Service indirectly contributes, because junk mail and any paper, both shredded and whole, can be recycled.
Dearing Town Council member Judson Story commented at a recent town council meeting that his family began recycling after his daughter learned about it at Dearing Elementary School. Mr. Story said he was amazed at how much of their trash ended up being recycled. His account was similar to Mr. Powers.
"We only have about one bag of trash, now," Mr. Story said. "They need to provide big recycle bins on wheels, and replace the trash carts with the little bins."
Thomson and Dearing residents who consistently find their recycle bin overflowing may call Thomson City Hall at 706-597-1781 and request an additional bin, according to Mr. Ruddick. Although workers will pick up any materials left on the side of the road on pickup days, Mr. Ruddick said there is a problem with dogs tearing up and scattering items left in bags unprotected by a bin.
Residents have the option of roadside pickup along with their trash bins, or they can take their recyclable materials to the facility next to the old Farmers Market Building on the Augusta Highway. The drop-off facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Residents living in the county also may use the drop-off facility.
Not only does it save the environment, but recycling brings in revenue for the city. Although prices fluctuate and cannot be predicted, Mr. Ruddick said the department's budget is based on earning at least $50,000 annually from recycled materials. If this year continues as the past two months have, that amount will be exceeded.
"It definitely pays for the salaries of the guys who pick it up," he said.
And the amount could be higher if cost avoidance was factored into the equation. Mr. Ruddick said that 80.31 tons recycled the last two months would have cost the city $3212 to haul off from the transfer station.
"Whether it makes money or not, the most important thing is that's less trash in the landfill," Mr. Ruddick said.
About the only item not accepted at the drop-off facility is plastic shopping bags. The local grocery stores have bins to dispose of those. Or, Mr. Ruddick has another solution.
"Save them and use them in the scarecrows on Main Street in October," he said with a laugh. "That's what we stuffed ours with."