First household hazardous waste recycling event in 12 months set for Saturday

In this 2018 file photo, cans of paint stack up in a trailer during a household hazardous waste recycling event.

More than 250 Floyd County residents have already signed up for Saturday’s household hazardous waste and electronics recycling event at the Rome Floyd Recycling Center on Lavender Drive.

County Public Works Director Michael Skeen said one reason for the interest is that the county has not had a HHW recycling event since January of last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recycling Center Manager Tom Benefield said he is excited to be able to hold the event and anticipates that residents will bring in lots of liquids — from used motor oil and paint to herbicides and pesticides. He’s also expecting plenty of electronics, even though the center was able to conduct an electronics recycling event last fall.

“Everything that we take as far as electronics goes, goes to a downstream recycler that we have a contract with,” Benefield said.

Most of the items ultimately get crushed and then mechanically sorted to separate the plastics from the metals.

“In a computer there are several different kinds of precious metals,” Benefield said.

That includes gold, silver, lead, tin, copper and sometimes brass.

“The hardest thing to get recycled nowadays are the old type CRT TVs, the big heavy glass ones,” Benefield said. “There can be six pounds of lead in each one of them. It’s coated on the inside of the glass tube so it’s a process to get that out and nobody wants to mess with it.”

When it comes to liquids, Benefield said the vendor that ultimately disposes of the material will have a chemist on site Saturday to determine exactly what is being collected and the best means of disposal.

“If they take different oils, they will send those to a refinery and reuse it,” Benefield said. “Some of the more dangerous chemicals, like the herbicides, are incinerated by whatever means the state and federal government says is necessary to render them inert.”

Skeen said the budget for the special recycling events each year is about $60,000, but adds that it is worth it to the community to keep these items out of the landfill.

The landfill won’t take liquids at all.

“We’re afraid they may wind up in a ditch somewhere if we didn’t provide an alternative,” Skeen said.

Even though the landfill is lined and treated, some of the heavy metals from the electronic items could potentially leach through.

“It still has a chance to get in our groundwater so we want to keep it out of the groundwater,” Skeen said.

The event, for Rome and Floyd County residents only, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents must call 706-291-5266 for an appointment.

Benefield said that everyone participating in the collection of recyclables will be masked up and he is asking that residents wear face coverings or stay in their vehicle during the event.

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