While recycling operations in Rome and Floyd County have run a deficit for several years, the shortfall this year is significantly less.
According to Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord, the deficit — which is split three ways between the city, the county, and the Solid Waste Commission — is down by more than $54,000 each.
This is due to an increase in revenue along with improvements that have been made over the years.
Floyd County Public Works Director Michael Skeen said they have had a really good deal for about a year now, saving them money on landfill tipping fees for materials they cannot sort, bail, and sell themselves.
“We are able to bail the materials as co-mingled or first-run and sell it for someone else to pick through again, as opposed to taking it to the landfill and paying a tipping fee,” he said.
The recycling center primarily uses the WestRock Recycling facility in Chattanooga.
“They have optical sorters and magnets,” said Floyd County Solid Waste Director Emma Wells. “It’s not done by hand.”
Wells added that the sales are better than they have been since 2019, with the recycling center shipping out tons of materials.
In addition, the center has had to do more with less. It is set up for a crew of 40 inmate workers. Currently, they only have around 24.
“We have a much better and more efficient process in place,” Wells said.
In 2022, the Rome-Floyd County Recycling Center on Lavender Drive hosted three household hazardous waste collection days, six electronics recycling events, and one tire recycling event.
Wells said they are continuing public education efforts on how to recycle correctly. That includes the investment in new signage at the recycling center and remote sites, along with marketing materials to take to schools and various events.