Business leaders in Rome and Floyd County learned more about recycling programs and sustainability efforts across the community Tuesday.
The Small Business Action Council hosted a discussion of “green” prorrams during their monthly meeting at the Rome Floyd Chamber.
“You have to be educated on what to recycle,” said Mary Hardin Thornton, a former director of the Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful office, who is now special services manager for the Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation Department. “We want to do it; it’s the right thing to do.”
While the city of Rome offers curbside recycling, Floyd County has recycling bins stationed at remote garbage collection sites in Shannon at Todd Road; Armuchee on Jones Mill Road; the Model area on Potts Road; Cave Spring on Kings Bridge Road; in Coosa on Berryhill Road and in South Floyd on Midway Park Road.
“They all have a cardboard compactor,” said Floyd County Solid Waste Director Emma Wells.
Wells encouraged the business group to pick one thing that they may come into contact with a lot — perhaps cardboard or plastic water bottles — and develop a plan for recycling those items. Then expand to other items as their program matures.
Thornton said it would be a good idea to assign one person in an office to be the point person for recycling.
Rome and Floyd County have two of the larger recycling vendors in all of the Southeast in Marglen Industries and Paper Recovery of Georgia.
Marglen, on Ward Mountain Road, takes in plastic bottles that are extruded and spun into synthetic fibers.
Paper Recovery on East Sixth Street recycles cardboard, shipping it all around the world.
Wells lamented that there is a significant issue locally with contamination of recyclables.
“Our curbside recycling is coming in about 50% contaminated, which means about half of it has to go to the landfill,” Wells said.
Contaminated recycling might include a pizza box that is tossed aside with pizza still in it, or a plastic bottle that is half full of a drink, or full of trash that is stuffed down inside the bottle.
If companies are not in a position to be green leaders through recycling, Thornton suggested that they become involved in either the Tree City or Bee City program by planting trees or pollinator bushes outside their offices.