Covington is totally revamping its recycling program and now nearly everything is recyclable and the more that's recycled the more money the city will earn.
Vince Casey, Covington's new solid waste manager, said the city will now be able to recycle aluminum foil, corrugated cardboard, jar lids, TV dinner trays and pie pans, motor oil containers, margarine tubes, most types of plastic bags, newspaper bags, newspapers and Styrofoam.
The city will no longer separate recyclables, but will instead take all recyclables to the Atlanta location of SP Recycling, which will handle all sorting.
Casey said the city expects to save around $39,000 per year in fuel and manpower, while earning around $95,000 in additional revenue.
Because the city will no longer be sorting recyclables at the curb, the recycling truck will only need one laborer instead of two, Casey said. A solid waste employee is expected to retire this summer and his position is not expected to be filled, Casey said.
The city has historically made no money on recycling, basically giving recyclables to the county, which would then sell all recyclables for around one penny per pound to a company in South Carolina, Casey said.
Now, Casey said he expects the city to earn between $7,000and $9,000 per month, based on the market price of commodities.
"We weren't making money because plastic is so cheap. There is a South Carolina location that processes it, but the freight cost on plastic is ridiculous," said Casey, who noted the South Carolina would only pick up recyclables from Newton County twice a year.
"Whatever you put in there now, it wouldn't matter. Even the bread package, the package newspaper comes in, aluminum foil, it's all usable under this system, where to us it wasn't usable," Casey said. "Streamline recycling takes away the headache of trying to find out what's recyclable and not recyclable. Any food product is pretty much recyclable. You don't have to think about it.
If you can use it, you can tear it, it's recyclable."
Even contaminated products can be collected locally, Casey said. He said contaminated materials can be sent to the BMW plant in South Carolina which generates a majority of its electricity from methane produced by decomposing garbage.
"Georgians do not recyclable enough. We buy recycled material from other states to run our manufacturing, because we don't recycle enough. That's why the streamline approach is beginning to be more popular. It creates more job. I'm excited about it," said Casey, noting SP Recycling has a machine that sucks up all of the plastic bags and bales them.
As far as he knows, every residence in the city has a recycling bin, but anyone who doesn't have a recycling bin can contact the city at (770) 385-2000.
Some things that still should not be recycled include Pyrex dishes, ceramics, light bulbs, window and mirror glass, carbon paper and hard cover books. However, hard cover books can always be dropped off at the green Better World Books bins at county recycling centers and the administration building.