Welcoming recycling efforts to Tennessee

Welcoming recycling efforts to Tennessee

November 20th, 2012 by Pam Sohn in News

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/Times Free Press.

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 press.com or 423-757-6346.