Recycling month pic

Macon County Solid Waste employees are, from left, Anthony Knight, Colin Morris, Phillip Terry, Director Debbie Richardson, James Akers, County Mayor Steve Jone and Chuck McLerran. November is Recycling Month.

November has been proclaimed as Recycling Month in Macon County in connection with America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, 2021. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States.

The Macon County Solid Waste Department sponsors an annual Recycling Awareness Campaign which makes the emotional push needed to raise awareness and positively change people’s behavior to recycle more. The intent is to increase recycling rates, increase financial savings, preserve natural resources, and job creation. Macon County residents and businesses are encouraged to start their own recycling and reduce their waste. Businesses are also encouraged to start a recycling program that will decrease their waste disposal expenses. The success of recycling mainly depends on the active contribution from the community. The efforts of all sectors of the county, including the citizens, schools, government offices, commercial businesses, industries, and institutions are very important.

Recycling is defined as the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its original state.

Recycled materials have value and contribute to the economic well-being of all Tennesseans. Recycling promotes and sustains jobs, and adds to the revenue of local government departments through the sale of collected commodities. Recycling further enhances the personal wealth of all Tennesseans through cost avoidance of landfill tipping fee charges. Ultimately, it also protects the environment by keeping the materials out of the landfill.

The Macon County Solid Waste Department has set goals and made strategic plans over the years to steadily increase the amount of recycling, while decreasing the amount of waste disposed to landfills. Teamwork within the department has been essential. Dedicated employees of the Solid Waste Dept. are Chuck McLerran, James “Red” Akers, Anthony Knight, Colin Morris, Phillip Terry, and Debbie Richardson, Director. It takes a community working together to achieve good things.

Recycling begins when individuals make the effort to separate recycling materials from trash materials, and then deposit those materials to be recovered through recycling collection programs, rather than throw them away. Recycling at your home or business is as easy as these three steps: 1) Designate a specific container for recycling; 2) Put only recycling items in these containers; 3) Take the recycling to your nearest collection site. The materials then are transported to our Recycling Center at the Solid Waste Department where it is baled and sent out by tractor trailer to the mills and processing plants to make new items. The cycle continues when consumers purchase products and packaging with recycled content.

The Macon County Solid Waste Department operates a Recycling Center where materials are baled and marketed for processing into usable items. Our department also maintains several public drop-off collection sites throughout the county for public use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no charge. The large red containers are located at the following sites throughout the county: Westside on Hwy 52; Hardee’s on Hwy 52 By-Pass (2 Containers); Career Center (4 containers) on Hwy 52 By-Pass; Hillwood RBS on Hwy 52; and at the Macon County Transfer Station on Heady Ridge Road in Red Boiling Springs.

The containers are labeled, showing what is acceptable and not acceptable. We accept newspaper, mixed paper, magazines, books, plastics #1 and #2, aluminum cans, tin food cans, and cardboard. Please look for the triangle logo on the bottom of plastic containers. We ask that you do not put trash items or other non-recyclable materials in the recycling bins. For instance, plastic swimming pools, plastic ice coolers, plastic lawn chairs, plastics #5 or plastics #7 are not recyclable. Disposing of your trash in recycling bins is absolutely prohibited.

Why is it important to only put items that can be recycled in the recycling bin? Putting items in the recycling bin that can’t be recycled can contaminate the recycling stream. After these unrecyclable items arrive at recycling centers, they can cause costly damage to the equipment. Additionally, after arriving at recycling centers, they must be sorted out by hand and then sent to landfills, which raises costs for the facility. That is why it is important to check with your local recycling provider to ensure that they will accept certain items before placing them into a bin.

Other items, such as tires, electronics, appliances, metal, fluorescent bulbs, antifreeze, lead acid batteries, rechargeable batteries, and household paint can be recycled at the Macon County Transfer Station. Certain auto parts/repair businesses accept used oil for recycling. Businesses, industries, and institutions may prefer to have their cardboard picked up at their facility. We can provide you with a contact for private collections for your convenience.

The Macon County Solid Waste Department also maintains recycling programs at each of the eight schools in the county. Education and the hands-on involvement with students and staff have proven to be an essential part of our awareness campaign. Recycling containers are in each of the classrooms, offices, cafeterias, kitchens, playgrounds, and sporting events. The school recycling program builds good recycling habits with the youth of the county that will continue into their future.

Approximately 75% of all waste can be recycling. However, Recycling rates vary from state to state, county to county, depending on the accessibility to resources for processing. For instance, it is harder for Macon County to recycle certain materials than maybe Memphis or Atlanta. The state of Tennessee requires that all counties/regions meet a 25% waste reduction goal each year. Macon County has again remained in the top ranked counties in Tennessee with an 83% waste reduction rate in all sectors, including residential, commercial, industrial, government, and institutional.

We made improvements to our Department over the past two years to help in our daily work of managing waste and recycling. We appreciate the support of our Macon County Mayor and Macon County Commissioners with our Recycling Program and with the Solid Waste Department.

For information on recycling with your household or business, or information about waste that can be disposed at the Transfer Station, visit the county web site at, (click on Visitors, departments, solid waste) or call the Macon County Solid Waste Dept. at 615-699-3707.

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