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Solid Waste Committee Discusses Reduction of Materials Going Into Landfills

DRESDEN (May 27) — Members of the Solid Waste Committee heard a report from Wanda Fuzzell, solid waste infrastructure planner for Northwest Tennessee Development District, regarding the amount of solid waste collected and how much of it is diverted from landfills utilized by Weakley County’s garbage disposal contractors. These include the West Camden Landfill, Dyersburg Municipal Landfill, Northwest Tennessee Disposal Corporation Landfill and Madison County Landfill.
Solid waste pickup and disposal is provided to Weakley County and its municipalities by two garbage contractors – Republic Services and Red River Waste.
The report indicates out of a total of 43,886.91 tons of material in the county’s solid waste stream, 25,437.34 tons were disposed in a Class I landfill, and 18,449.57 tons were diverted from landfills.
“Every county in Tennessee is required to divert at least 25 percent of solid waste from Class I landfills,” Fuzzell said. According to Fuzzell, the Class I landfills used by Weakley County have a reduction rate of 42.04 percent, which is 17 percent more than what is required by the state.
The industry recycling and diverting the most solid waste in Weakley County is MTD in Martin, which diverted 14,946 tons of material last year. The total amount of industrial waste diverted is 17,902 tons.
The total amount of residential solid waste diverted from landfills is 547.48 tons.
Fuzzell informed the committee convenience center grants will not be awarded during fiscal year 2020-2021. She said the only grants available are for recycling equipment.
“We applied for a trailer and a few smaller items last year, but were denied grant funding,” Weakley County Highway Supervisor Charles Ross said. However, he noted a 100 percent grant for a container to accept used oil was approved.
Committee Chairman Dennis Doster asked if Ross plans to apply for the trailer grant again this year, and Ross indicated he probably will, depending on what equipment is needed most. He states the trailer could be used for collecting aluminum cans, trash, and cardboard or other purposes. The grant for the trailer is an 80 percent grant. He added a trailer, on loan from UT Martin’s recycling program, is located at the convenience center for collecting cardboard. County employees bale the cardboard, place it on the trailer, and haul it to UTM to be recycled.
Fuzzell complimented Weakley County for having an annual household hazardous waste disposal event to eliminate materials not approved for Class I landfills. She stated 2,749 lbs. were collected in 2019. Fuzzell said, last year, UT Martin collected 1,562 lbs. of material during its first ever hazardous waste disposal day. Ross noted UT Martin is to hold a hazardous waste disposal event this fall.
According to Ross, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Weakley County’s hazardous waste disposal day was canceled this year. “When an activity of this type is held, the state hauls off hazardous waste products not accepted in Class I landfills and disposes of it in a special landfill designated for that purpose.
Earlier this year, the disposal fee charged for each tire dropped off at the convenience center was lowered from $2 to $1. Ross commented approximately 60 tires were dumped in a ditch recently and highway workers hauled them away. The cost of labor and use of county highway trucks is billed to the solid waste program. He stated these types of incidents puts the county’s solid waste program “in the negative” regarding tire disposal costs. Even so, he said, “We currently have a decent fund balance in that program.”
The Weakley County Convenience Center is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

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