A number of improvements have been made recently in the solid waste and recycling department in Yadkin County. Assistant County Manager Christopher Ong assumed oversight of the department last summer and has been working to implement chances to increase efficiency.
“Improving the service delivery in the most cost effective way possible for the citizens of Yadkin County” has been the goal, Ong said.
“There have been across the board changes implemented in everything from the daily operations of solid waste management to capital improvements at the solid waste sites,” he said.
Improvements have included the sealing and paving of Landfill Road from Sugartown Road to the access gate at the Solid Waste Facility, reshaping the gravel road to the transfer station and installing new draining pipes.
A new site building also was installed at one of the centrally located convenience sites on Speer Bridge Road. The building also was moved to create a safer traffic pattern and allow the site attendant to better manage the location.
Positions in the department also were reclassified to improve operations and the solid waste management software was updated for the first time in more than a decade. Unused assets including two garbage trucks and a building were sold through electronic auction to offset some of the capital improvement expenses. A capital improvement and maintenance plan for the solid waste facility and all seven convenience sites also has been developed.
Shannon Harris was hired to serve as solid waste operations supervisor. Security and safety has been improved by way of video/audio monitoring at the sites and tightening of internal controls.
Solid waste and recycling is a service the county provides to its citizens, Ong said, and he said ensuring good customer service at the sites is also a big part of the improvements being made.
“Besides the Solid Waste Facility located on Landfill Road, the county operates seven manned convenience sites throughout Yadkin County where residents can drop off their bagged trash and recycling in dumpsters. There is an attendant staffed at each site who is more than happy to assist all elderly and disabled citizens who need help unloading their trash and recyclables,” Ong said.
Encouraging recycling, and the ease of recycling, is another important message Ong said he wanted to get out to citizens of Yadkin County.
“Yadkin County recently converted to single stream recycling which means that you no longer have to sort and separate your recyclable materials and put them in separate dumpsters,” he said. “You can now throw in together at all of the county recycling dumpsters: Metal – aluminum drink and food cans (rinsed); clean pie pans and aluminum foil and empty aerosol cans; Plastics – all plastics numbered #1-#7; Glass – all rinsed food and beverage jars/bottles that are clear, green, and brown; Paper – paper; magazines; and empty, broken down cardboard boxes.
Ong mentioned local business Unifi and how it has become a “great corporate citizen” through its recycling program and Repreve line which creates yarn from recycled bottles.
The county is also in the process of applying for a grant from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality-Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service to help get out the message of the county’s single stream recycling program. The funding from that grant would go to improve signage on the recycling bins at the convenience sites and a direct mail piece to county citizens reminding them of the recycling options.
“We believe that a strong marketing push coupled with well-designed signage at the convenience sites is key to and will make a significant impact on the success of our single stream program,”Ong said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.