Waste collection event brings in unusual materials

Published 12:10 am Thursday, October 8, 2015

By Josh Bergeron 


EAST SPENCER — Flammable chemicals, unused medications, old paint buckets and antiquated TVs filed into Rowan County’s Recycling Processing Center Wednesday as part of a special waste collection event.

Held yearly, the waste collection event draws thousands of pounds of materials the recycling center can’t normally collect. For example, the event brought in 75 tires, 365 pounds of flammable liquids, 3,000 pounds of latex paints and 10,000 pounds of electronics last year.

Wednesday’s event was a partnership between nine state and local organizations.

Among other items, Rowan County’s recycling program typically accepts aluminum cans, some electronics, automobile batteries, glass bottles and newspapers. Wednesday’s event — a partnership between various local and state agencies — added a number of other materials to the list for a single day, including medication, pesticides, paint, fertilizers and gas tanks. Landfill fees pay for the event.

The special waste event doesn’t generate significant amounts of revenue, but is an important community service said Caleb Sinclar, who supervises the county’s recycling processing center.

“Municipalities and local government throughout the state offer these types of events as a service to their public because most people just don’t know what to do with the difficult to handle stuff,” Sinclair said. “If they don’t know, it might end up in a ditch — not everyone, but it gets improperly disposed of. It’s an opportunity to educate the public on how to properly dispose of those nasty materials and an opportunity for them to clean a storeroom.”

The waste collection event is aimed at residents rather than businesses.

Cars file into the recycling processing center and waste is sorted into various piles for disposal or recycling. Many trucks came to the East Spencer site filled to the brim with waste. Cars came with loaded trunks.

Rowan County employees and others who helped then sorted the waste into individual piles. Some items, medication for example, were dumped in garbage bags. Outdated TVs and computer monitors were placed on pallets and wrapped with plastic.

After material is sorted, the ultimate destination varies. Flammable liquids, for example, may later be used to power cement kilns. Medication is destroyed.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.