January 4, 2014

Hundreds of trees, electronics recycled

Rachel Brown

— A group of recycling-oriented workers and volunteers stood out in the cold and wind Saturday at Home Depot to help consumers dispose of their live Christmas trees and unwanted electronics in a way that did more than just help declutter their homes.

For at least 15 years, the Dalton-Whitfield Regional Solid Waste Authority has offered tree recycling services in which public works crews bring a wood chipper to convert discarded trees into mulch that will later be used for beautification projects around Whitfield County.

For the past two years, organizers have paired tree chipping services with an organized electronics recycling effort through Reworx Recycling, a Kennesaw-based employer run by the Nobis Works program, which hires people with disabilities to refurbish old electronics or strip them of certain materials that can be sold and reused.

Recycling and Education Program Coordinator Liz Swafford of the Solid Waste Authority said well over 200 Christmas trees were recycled during the event which ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Participants were given a goody bag with small items, like pens and drink coasters, as well as seed packets provided through Perry-Morse.

The recycling services were free except for those who dropped off televisions or certain kinds of computer monitors. For that, there was a $5 charge to dispose safely of the hazardous materials inside them. Normally, the charge is $10 at the convenience center on Old Dixie Highway.

“We take anything with a cord or a battery in it,” Reworx customer service representative Paul Yarbrough said.

Norman Barashick, executive director of the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, said disposing of electronics properly minimizes the risk for certain materials they contain, such as lead or mercury, harming the environment.

As for Christmas tree recycling, Swafford said anyone who missed the recycling event at Home Depot can still have their trees recycled. Dalton residents should contact Dalton Public Works at (706) 278-7077. County residents may take their trees to one of four convenience centers for free recycling.

For questions about recycling, call (706) 278-5001 or visit www.dwswa.org.