On Friday morning, May 31, the Caswell Messenger visited the Caswell County Solid Waste & Recycling landfill site to investigate claims about the lack of recycling in the area.
A letter to the editor published in the March 6 edition of the Messenger claimed the county dumps any collected recycling into a landfill.
Solid Waste Director A.J. Fuqua said he became director of the county organization around 3 or 4 months ago, and says that is not the case.
“We’re responsible for all the recycling and trash collection of Caswell County,” he said. “At every convenience site we have containers where citizens can put their recycling items in. We then pick them up and bring them to our main hub here in Yanceyville.”
Fuqua said Caswell County does not have a facility for recycling and relies on a partnership with a facility in another county.
“We dump recyclables out onto a pad and push them into a [storage] container and we either sell them or send them to the Person County recycling facility,” he explained. “We get money for cans, cardboard and metal that we sell.”
For the month of May, a total of 57,488 pounds of recycling was collected and they have sold 27,220 pounds making $1,524.20.
Fuqua said he is a big believer in recycling. He also said it is important for Caswell County residents to recycle.
“It helps the environment and it’s a better way to get rid of the products we can recycle,” he said.
Since becoming director Fuqua said he has seen an increase of recycling items at the site.
“People are bringing more items,” he explained. “I know people are saying the boxes aren’t full but that’s because I put them on a schedule. We switch them out about every other week and sometimes we’re doing that at two sites a week. We keep them rotated out if we have to, that way they don’t get full.”
He said when residents arrive to the site they may see cans and bottles scattered on the ground after moving the containers.
“When we pull out the boxes, they are so full that sometimes cans or plastics spill onto the ground,” Fuqua explained. “It is easy to see why some citizens think there is trash laying around.”
“We try to separate them the best we can, but it depends on how people bring the items,” he continued. “We dump recyclables onto a concrete pad and flatten them. Then we take the compacted items and push them into boxes, so we can haul them down the road safely.”
“We have nine sites in the county where people can take recyclables,” he continued. “After collection whatever we can sell, we sell, and what we can’t goes to Pearson Industries. I’m currently working with the state right now to find a plastic buyer.”
Fuqua said he has goals to improve the way individuals dispose of recycling products.
“We are in the process of painting the recyclable [shipping] containers blue,” he explained. “By painting them blue it would decrease the amount of confusion as to which containers items go into. When we finish painting, we will have nine containers for recyclables available to the public.”
He also said he hopes to have portable recycling bins to use at festivals or public events.
“Sometimes recycling ends up in the trash, but having portable bins at festivals, ball games and community events will lessen the number of items getting thrown away,” he said.
County Manager Bryan Miller said that although the Solid Waste department consists of just three employees he is proud of them.
“When A.J. came in talking about forming a relationship with Person County and their recycling program and the fact that they hire adults with disabilities, I thought it was a good idea and gave A.J the green light to run with it,” Miller said. “He grabbed the bull by the horns and hasn’t slowed down a bit. I’m proud of what our Solid Waste Director has done so far.”
Miller also said the team does a great job managing the Solid Waste site.
“They really do a great job,” he said. “Keith [Fuqua] and Andy [Stanley] at the landfill are incredible employees and they support A.J. 100%. They really have a good team out there.”
The Caswell County Solid Waste & Recycling site is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information or questions call Fuqua at 336-694-5811 ext. 2 or email email@example.com.