published Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Welcoming recycling efforts to Tennessee

  • photo
    Travelers walk past two new recycling bins located by the vending machine station at the Interstate 75 Welcome Center in East Ridge.
    Photo by Alyson Wright.
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Millions of people recycle at home and at work, but travel recycling has always been a challenge until now.

Tennessee state agencies have joined the effort.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the state Tourist Development department have started providing recycling services for cans and bottles at welcome centers, including those at I-75 Chattanooga and I-24 Tiftonia.

"Recycling away from home is one challenge that all recyclers face," said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau in a news release. "Visitors to our state will now see receptacles with blue and green lids for recycling."

Welcome center visitors across the state also will have the opportunity to recycle at I-65 near Ardmore, I-81 at Bristol, I-24 at Clarksville, I-26 at Erwin, I-40 at Hartford, I-75 at Jellico, I-65 at Mitchellville and I-40 at Smith County.

TDEC spokeswoman Shannon Ashford said the program began with a pilot study at the Clarksville Welcome Center and grew to a few other locations to test the feasibility.

Orange Grove Recycling will help the effort locally.

Ashford said TDEC already coordinates Tennessee's State Facility Recycling Program to encourage workers in state offices to recycle mixed office paper, plastic and aluminum recycling, as well as nontraditional items, such as clothing, coat hangers, eyeglasses and greeting cards, for reuse, donation and recycling.

Since the program's start in 1990, state employees have recycled 18,791 tons of mixed office paper, saving $564,000 in landfill disposal costs while generating nearly $213,000 in recycling revenue.

The recycling revenues are deposited in the Solid Waste Management Fund, which is used to help local communities in their solid waste reduction efforts, Ashford said.

Contact staff writer Pam Sohn at psohn@timesfree or 423-757-6346.

about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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