Recycling in Columbia County is again set to restart. The pickup is slated to begin Tuesday.
The service has been suspended since June 2018, when Abilities Unlimited, the nonprofit service that served as the drop-off point for recycled goods collected by Waste Corporation of Arkansas (WCA), stated its small staff and facility were overwhelmed by the abundance of garbage mixed in with actual recyclables. Facility supervisor Richard Metzelaars last year estimated that up to 70% of the weekly recycle intake was non-reusable and nothing but trash. Some items put into the blue recycle bins included dirty diapers, syringes, and even mechanical car parts.
To negate this, the County pitched in, purchasing a $46,000 industrial sorter and leasing it to Abilities to relieve workers of hand-picking through mounds of mostly unusable waste. A WCA truck will still dump at the Abilities’ front the center’s front dock, the contents can be scooped up with a forklift attachment, dumped into the sorter’s hopper, and dropped onto the conveyor for sorting, making for a far faster, more efficient method.
In a statement issued before the pickup began again, Abilities Unlimited noted that, even with the new equipment, the job is still laborious and dirty for its workers — the less garbage mixed in, means the easier the sorting will be.
“Please do not forget the person that separates the recycled items is not a clean job and please keep the recycled items clean,” the statement said.
The only items that Abilities can recycle are:
Metal cans: Aluminum cans, tin cans
Plastic bottles: Water bottles, soda bottles, tea and juice bottles, milk jugs, detergent bottles, bleach bottles, liquid soap bottles, softener bottles
Cardboard: Corrugated cardboard, cereal boxes, tissue and paper towel cores
Paper: Envelopes, letters, junk mail, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone books.
The organization asks all to please rinse all cans and bottles.
Items that cannot be recycled by Abilities Unlimited include: Plastic other than bottles, oil containers, glass, plastic bags, yard waste, cords, wire and cords, food scraps, liquid in bottles.
For recycling qustions, call Abilities Unlimited at 870-234-2558.