PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Sevier County is now taking a step toward protecting the environment. It is already the county with the best recycling rate in the state and one of the top in the country according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The county opened a new facility Wednesday they hope will help them grow those numbers substantially. It is a new recycling hub for all of Sevier County funded by a $300,000 grant from TDEC.
“We’re kind of the central processing facility here and then the surrounding areas are the spokes and that includes the National Park Service,” said Shari Meghreblian, TDEC Deputy Commissioner.
Each year Sevier County generates nearly 120 tons of garbage. Of that, about 60 percent is converted to compost. That is something fairly unique to Sevier County.
Now they are hoping the new facility will help them turn almost all of that trash into treasure. Trash from all the municipalities in the country will be brought to this facility and sorted.
“The more that we divert from the landfill it has an opportunity to put money back into the city, it reduces the amount of waste going into the landfill and then we get more recycling,” said Meghreblian.
It should also be more successful than traditional recycling because you do not need a special container. Just throw all your trash and recyclables away together, and when it gets to the solid waste center they will do the sorting.
“When you think about the resources that are needed to create these materials and the environmental toll that it takes when we could just reuse and recycle what is already there,” said Amanda Plante, Executive Director of Keep Sevier Beautiful.
Plante says their goal is to encourage everyone to take responsibility for the environment, and she believes this is a great step toward reducing Sevier County’s footprint.
“It’s going to make a real difference in reducing this county’s impact and reducing what’s going into this landfill,” she said.
This is the first recycling hub of its kind in East Tennessee. There are two others in the state. One is in Marshall County while the other is in Chester County.