Published: October 20, 2021

Employee illnesses, accidents cause for pause in recycling pickup

I’ve said this before, but not often enough: THANK YOU for making Lawrence County’s recycling program a success.

Thanks to you, we surpassed the state’s goal of 50% reduction in total waste flow ten years before the 2025 deadline. We received a Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015 because with recycling, Lawrence County was already putting 64% less garbage in the ground.

With your help, we offset some costs of waste disposal through the sale of recyclables. Fluctuating markets take proceeds up and down, but Solid Waste Director Gary Wayne Hyde makes the most of the opportunities that are there.

Because you take recycling to school drop-off points, students see the sorting process as an ordinary part of daily life. A Litter Grant from the state of Tennessee allows us to give cash prizes to schools that collect the most, which is used to promote other programs that benefit our kids.

I also thank you for your patience. As you know, school collection buildings have been closed for some time, and we don’t know when we can reopen them.

Four of our nine Solid Waste employees are not working. Two cannot because of COVID complications: one has been hospitalized a month; another has suffered several strokes as a result of the illness. Two other employees were injured on the job and have not been cleared to return to work.

Nine employees had to hustle to work all the aspects of our Solid Waste program. Five can’t get it all done. We simply don’t have the manpower to remove recyclables from the school collection buildings right now.

Our recycling program is still operating, but materials must be taken to the Transfer Station at 2126 Baler Drive. If you can’t do that, please consider storing your recyclables until our school collection buildings open. If you have to put recyclables in the trash for now, we understand.

Again, I appreciate your recycling efforts. I’m sorry circumstances have forced us to stop one aspect of it for the time being. Thank you for your patience, and your prayers for our employees.