Macon County has reached high rankings as one of the top performers in recycling and waste reduction in the state. The county's current rate is 79%, giving Macon County the rank of sixth in the state. Tennessee still has 13 counties that have not reached the state goal of 25% and 53 counties that are below the 50% mark.
The Macon County Solid Waste Dept. has been the leader in this challenge.
They have set goals, implemented new programs, presented education campaigns and strived to show steady progress each year in recycling and reducing waste.
Teamwork within the department has been essential for this kind of success. The department employees are Robert Coons, Chuck McLerran, David Eden and Debbie Richardson Harper, Director.
Harper stated, “I am thankful to have very dedicated employees in the Solid Waste Dept who are very good at what they do.
“In addition, the residents, businesses, and industries of Macon County are to be commended for making great efforts to use the programs available in achieving this great accomplishment. Macon County's success shows we are all working hard to be financially and environmentally responsible.”
The Solid Waste Dept. knows that continuous education to the public is necessary for residents, businesses, and industry to understand the importance of recycling and reducing waste.
Waste reduction is not only good for the environment but it also saves everyone money in disposal fees. Harper added, “Most people want to do the right thing. They just need to be educated on how to do it. Recycling is as simple as putting certain trash in the recycling container instead of the trash can. It's not hard to do. “
Reducing waste by either recycling or just simply having less trash will result in lower expenses to everyone. In addition, it means less trash goes into the landfills reducing problems with groundwater or methane gas.
The Macon County Solid Waste Dept. has implemented many new recycling programs throughout the years giving residents and businesses a better resource to recycle their waste. This year, the solid waste department implemented recycling of electronics, antifreeze, rechargeable batteries, lead acid batteries, and empty propane cylinders at the transfer station. Also, new this year is the household paint collection program available during regular business hours for the convenience of the public.
The department has added recycling drop-off sites throughout the county, added designated cardboard sites, added recycling at sporting events and community events throughout the county, and added recycling at many government offices.
At the transfer station the department has added metal sorting/recycling/sales, improved appliancesorting/recycling /sales, and improved waste tire recycling.
The solid waste dept. implemented the school recycling program a few years ago that is still on-going with each of the seven schools in the county.
This program has involved approximately 4300 students and over 200 staff members with “hands-on” experience with recycling.
A recycling art/sculpture contest...was held last year with high school and junior high students to help educate them about the...beneficial end use of recyclable materials. Harper said, “We believe that children who are educated and trained at a young age about recycling will likely continue the process into adulthood.”
Macon County has come a long way from the 11% rate in 2001, to the 79% current rate in recycling. However, we will still keep striving for progress.
For more information on how your household or business can recycle, please call the Macon County Solid Waste Dept. at 615-699-3707.