07/12/07 — Wayne Opportunity Center will be taking over all of county's recycling

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Wayne Opportunity Center will be taking over all of county's recycling

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on July 12, 2007 1:46 PM

In a move designed to help both entities, Wayne County's Solid Waste Department will no longer be trucking load after load of recycled goods to Clinton. Instead, the county will shorten its trip and haul its cardboard, paper, plastic and cans to Wayne Opportunity Center on George Street.

"I think this will be a real benefit for us and them," said county solid waste director Tim Rogers.

He explained that the county had looked into the possibility of building its own recycling center, but that the cost had turned out to be more than anticipated.

Wayne Opportunity, on the other hand, has been running a recycling program for the last 20 years.

"It's really taken off in the last two to three years," director John Chance said. "We're excited. This is a great opportunity for us, and we think it's a great opportunity for Wayne County as well."

Currently, he continued, Wayne Opportunity recycles approximately 200 tons of cardboard and mixed paper a month, mostly from local businesses and the school system.

With this new agreement with the county, he's expecting that total to increase to nearly 400 tons per month, with another several tons of No. 1 and No. 2 plastic and aluminum and tin cans thrown in for good measure. Glass will be taken twice a month to a center in Raleigh.

With that, Chance explained, Wayne Opportunity should be able to make anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a month on its recycling business alone.

The county also will get a 30 percent cut of the total market value, estimated to be at least $6,000 a month.

Currently it receives no revenue from its recyclable goods.

Even better, Rogers added, is the county's expected savings of approximately $50,000 a year on transportation costs with the two-and-a-half-hour roundtrip to Bryant's Recycling in Clinton no longer necessary.

County drivers began making that shorter trip on Wednesday, which should allow the county's conveience centers to operate more efficiently.

And that, Rogers explained, will be the only difference that people in Wayne County see.

"They won't notice a change at all. When they go to the convenience centers it'll be just like it was in the past. The only change they might see is an improvement to service," he said.

People also can drop off their recyclables directly at Wayne Opportunity.

But from Chance's perspective, the real benefit is derived from what the expanded recycling program means to Wayne Opportunity's mission.

"It's just a great opportunity for us to train more people with disabilities to go to work, and some of them we'll employ here," he said.

Working primarily with a mentally handicapped and developmentally disabled clientele, Wayne Opportunity has several programs in place to teach job skills and provide job training. It also provides for limited employment on its grounds.

Much of its budget comes from state funds, its contracts with local businesses to help assemble various items, and its independent work refinishing furniture or building wooden pallets.

Now, Chance explained, he's hoping the recycling program will significantly supplement all of those.

"We do a lot of different work for a lot of different companies, but our economy in Wayne County is changing and there's not as much manufacturing work," he said. "We feel good about this. Recycling is growing. More and more people are recycling and there's more people wanting recycled goods. I really don't see a limit to it.

"This will help us make some money for our programs."

Chance also said that he's hoping Goldsboro, the county's other municipalities and more county businesses might soon join their recycling program as well.