It was a long time coming. Finally, the City of Savannah’s Sanitation Bureau’s Recycling Complex on the westside is a reality. Dozens of people turned out May 23 for the grand opening of the complex, which also serves as a education center.
Located at 14 Interchange Court off West Gwinnett Street, the complex has bins outside to hold recyclable materials brought in by residents. Inside the building are pamphlets and brochures about waste reduction, conservation of natural resources, landfills, recycling programs within the city and other topics.
“We have exhibits in the back that show the importance of recycling,” says administrative assistant Denise Fields. “We’ll get even more exhibits and set up more things over time.”
The facility also has a training room where videos can be presented. “We’re going to have schools come in and do educational programs,” Fields says.
Not only is the recycling complex a field trip destination, it’s open to anyone who wants a tour. Tours are available at no charge, with a maximum group size of 30.
The facility is open seven days a week to accept recyclable items in five “clean streams,” or categories. Not everything is recyclable, and the accepted items include:
1. Steel, including cans and containers, empty aerosol cans with the tops removed and steel products such as pipes, drums and other items.
2. Plastics, including bottles and jugs marked either No.1, such as soda, water and cooking oil bottles, or No. 2, such as detergent bottles or milk jugs with the tops removed. No plastic bags will be accepted.
3. Scrap metals, including bicycle parts, swing sets, metal shelving, wiring, fencing and various metal and alloy products and scrap material -- with all plastic parts removed.
4. White goods, which means appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves and so on. Don’t let the name fool you -- appliances of all colors will be accepted for recycling.
5. Aluminum, such as soda and beer cans.
All recyclables should be emptied of liquids or food and rinsed or cleaned before depositing them. The complex has nine containers, including five compartmental containers and four open-top 40-yard roll-off containers, all of which are clearly marked.
There is no fee charged for any deposits. “People can actually dump their items themselves in the bins,” Fields says,
Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. There also are additional drop-off sites located throughout the city. Anyone with questions can call 651-1967.
Use of the facility is not limited to residents of Savannah or Chatham County. “Anyone can use it,” says Sanitation Director Stephanie Cutter.
“We have everyone who brings items fill out a site visit sheet because we want to try to track the usage and see who actually recycles,” she says. “The complex is open to city and county residents or visitors to the city.”
Tracking of recycling is done to ensure that the program is adequate to handle residents’ needs. “This will help us determine if the program is expanded, or if the city goes to curbside pickup,” Cutter says.
Residents have been asking for a city recycling complex for years. “The center is open because the City of Savannah realizes that recycling is important and wanted to provide recycling service,” Cutter says.
“We’re hoping to increase participation and eventually get to the point where it becomes a break-even program, where the recycling program pays for itself.”
Cutter was somewhat surprised at the large turnout at the grand opening, but pleased to see so much interest.
“We’ve always had drop-off sites for recycling,” Cutter says. “But this complex is needed. The educational component is critical.”
The complex is unique in that it accepts more items than most, says John Denion, Director of Residential Refuse Collection. “We accept more plastic, steel and metal,” he says.
The city works with contractors who come in and take the recyclables away. “They reprocess it,” Denion says.
“The city council decided to put up the money to put a recycling center together for residents’ convenience,” he says. “They made the decision late last year, but it took a while to get the materials and get it together.
“Hopefully, more people will come and use the education center,” Denion says. “The topics include area water conservation issues, which is certainly important right now.” ç
The city recycling complex is on Interchange Court off West Gwinnett Street. Hours are M-F from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 651-1967.
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Coastal Pet Rescue turns cartridges into cash
Used ink and toner cartridges don’t have to end up taking space in a landfill.
Rather, they can be recycled and the money raised through recycling can be used to help homeless pets. Lisa Scarbrough, president and founder of Coastal Pet Rescue, has started a fund-raising drive to collected used cartridges.
Coastal Pet Rescue is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who are dedicated to saving the lives of homeless, abused and neglected animals in the coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. It was founded in February 2003.
“We are asking businesses to set up their own (collection) box,” Scarbrough says. “When it’s full, they can call us and we’ll pick it up.”
The cartridges are checked to make sure they will be accepted as recyclable. “We send them to the company and they send us a check for recycling,” Scarbrough says.
“The prices range from $3 to $5 per cartridge for different inkjet and toner cartridges,” she says. “It looks like we’re going to do pretty well with this.”
WTOC started the campaign by giving Coastal Pet Rescue six boxes of cartridges. Although the fund-raiser is targeted at businesses, individuals also can donate cartridges.
“We may set up drop boxes,” Scarbrough says. “We will continue to do this -- it’s not going to be a one-time thing.”
The money will be used to feed and care for the animals that are rescued. “I had no idea just how much we could raise with one full box of used ink jet cartridges,” Scarbrough says. “This fund-raiser will help us with regular vet care needed for our rescued pets.”
Coastal Pet Rescue also has another fund-raiser planned. As of June 1, the I Sold It on eBay store at 7400 Abercorn St. will begin accepting items on behalf of Coastal Pet Rescue.
“We are hopeful this ongoing fund-raiser will be a high revenue generator for us this summer,” Scarbrough says. “We have to cut back on our outdoor events due to the heat, so this will enable us the opportunity to still raise money without requiring our physical presence.”
Donors who want to participate can take any item valued over $40 to the I Sold It on eBay store. The item will be listed on eBay and the proceeds will go directly to Coastal Pet Rescue.
For information about either fund-raiser, contact Coastal Pet Rescue at 351-4151 or www.coastalpetrescue.org, or I Sold It on eBay at 353-7653 or www.isolditsavannah.com.
Funds are needed because Coastal Pet Rescue has taken in far more animals than usual, in part because of military deployments. “We’re broke right now,” Scarbrough says. “Our intake so far is more than all we did in 2006. We weren’t expecting those extra costs.
“We have three major fund-raisers each year,” Scarbrough says. “The next won’t be until September. We need to get money in our account now.
“These fund-raisers make it easy for people to get involved and easy for us to coordinate. The eBay fund-raiser is completely hands-off.” ç