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Tri-County Recycling Center reaches milestone

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Tri-County Recycling Center has reached a milestone, the processing of 1 million pounds of material in a single year, 2001.

Although Tri-County actually reached the milestone last year, the announcement is being made this week to coincide with Earth Day, April 22, according to Sarah Sexton of the White River Regional Solid Waste Management District.

Sexton said, "The benefits to the area from Tri-County's hard work and dedication are not as easy to quantify in dollars and cents because the area's private trash haulers pay the tipping fee for trash. However, this 1 million pounds would have cost the private trash haulers over $20,000 more in tipping fees to IESI's landfill had it not been recycled instead. And the area's consumers would have paid that extra $20,000 through increased trash fees."

More than half the total pounds of recycling was for cardboard (571,930 pounds), followed by newsprint (271,522), magazines (66,693), steel cans (37,350), clear glass (31,540), and mixed paper (18,995). The center also recycles plastic and aluminum cans.

Since the center opened in 1997, it has processed more than 2.3 million pounds of materials.

"Recycling preserves our natural resources by reducing our dependence on virgin materials and saves energy by reducing production requirements compared to making products from virgin materials. For instance, making a new aluminum can from recycled aluminum requires 95 percent less in energy resources," Sexton said.

The Tri-County Solid Waste Authority was legally incorporated in the spring of 1997 to address the operation of a recycling center in a building already in place at the area landfill in Fulton County. Money for building construction and some equipment was provided by recycling grants through the 10-county White River Waste Management District. Incorporators were the quorum courts of Sharp, Izard and Fulton counties and the cities in each county.

The executive board of Tri-County Waste Authority opened the center in November 1997 with one part-time employee. In 1998 a truck and driver were put on the road to collect cardboard from businesses.

By the fall of 1999 a second baling machine, third employee and second truck were added to keep up with requests from area communities and businesses to help with their recycling efforts. The board voted to add magazines to the list of items received at the center in 2001.

The center is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The center manager is Larry Boksa.

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