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New recycling center to open October 30

Open House Oct. 29th

recycling center IMG 3545

On a tour of the new facility, Pickens Recycling Director Kenny Woodard, left, explains to Jeff and Pamela Wood how bales of aluminum cans and other recyclables are sold. This revenue will help the center become self-sustaining and pay for the new building. 


After several months of renovations and preparations at the county’s new recycling center off Highway 515, the facility will open to the public on Friday, Oct. 30. People are invited to attend an open house and tour the new building the day before, Thursday, Oct. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Anyone, not just Pickens County residents, are able to use the facility. 

The current Camp Road recycling center will close permanently at the end of business Thursday, Oct. 29. 

At the new center at 390 Appalachian Court, customers will be required to separate their recyclables (except for glass, which will not need to be separated by color). For the last several years, the county has used “single stream” recycling at their Camp and Cove road facilities. Single-stream did not require separation - but the new recycling director Kenny Woodard said that model cost the county thousands of dollars - around $67,000 a year - because they had to pay companies to haul off the materials. Under the new model, one bale of sorted clear plastic will bring $780 at current rates. Instead of paying $1,500 a month to have glass hauled off as the county has done in the past, they can have a tractor trailer come pick it up and make $5 a ton. Woodard’s tour included many other similar examples. 

The director has identified most common recyclables and those that will make profit. The county also purchased a baler, “Big Blue,” so materials can be compacted on site. The facility’s size will allow the county to wait until they have larger quantities of recyclables stored, which makes it easier to find companies to purchase them. 

“Of course, we absolutely want to recycle as much as we can,” Woodard said as gave a tour to this reporter and a Pickens County couple who happened to drive up during the interview, “but this is a business and we need to support our operations and make money, not lose it.”

Some people have complained the center will no longer accept certain types of plastics, but Woodard said, “a lot of times there is this idea of ‘wishful recycling’ where people think what they were bringing in under single-stream was being recycled” - but often those materials would be taken off by other companies and thrown away like household trash. 

Vehicles will now drive into the open-air facility and customers will place recyclables in marked bays, hydraulic dump stations, trash compactors, and large bins. The couple on the tour, Jeff and Pamela Wood, said everything was clearly marked, and traffic flow lines made it easy to understand where vehicles should drive. 

Woodard wants to stress recycling education, and the importance of correctly separating materials to maximize profit. Vendors may consider a load “contaminated” and not pay as much for it if, for example, too much cardboard is in a mixed paper bale.  


The following items will be accepted at the center. 

The items in bays need to be separated.

Bays will be for cardboard (corrugated); mixed paper/junk mail/newspapers/phone books (to include canned soda cases/pasteboard, but not wax-coated cardboard); #1 plastic PET (water bottles, soda bottles); #2 HDPE plastic (colored plastic jugs like milk, detergent, juice, etc.); #2 clear plastic (such as clear milk jugs); aluminum cans; steel cans.

No plastics other than #1 and #2 will be accepted. 

The county will also accept glass that will not have to be separated by color; will offer free white paper shredding services (appointments will need to be made for large quantities); will accept tires, mattresses and furniture all for a fee depending on size; electronics; scrap metal; and oil/antifreeze (no charge). 

Household trash will still be $1 a bag to dump (they will begin to accept card payments in addition to cash, but will no longer accept checks). 

The center will also no longer accept C&DD (construction and demolition debris) materials and will not accept any rigid plastics. 

Operating hours will be Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.