Unlike any other community in Northwest Georgia, residents of Whitfield County have access to unique waste management facilities that go beyond everyday garbage. The Dalton-Whitfield Regional Solid Waste Management Authority (DWSWA) provides a variety of options for recycling that have transformed the way Whitfield County manages its waste. These recycling efforts have earned the DWSWA the “2009 Spirit of Green” award from the Georgia Recycling Coalition. But going green doesn’t stop there. The DWSWA also manages a Household Hazardous Waste program, a Landfill Gas to Energy project and a Wetland Mitigation Bank along the Conasauga River.
Recycling in Whitfield County
The heart of the recycling operation in Whitfield County is the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located on the same property as the Old Dixie Landfill & Convenience Center. This facility accepts, sorts, and processes all of the recyclables collected in the area through several collection programs. These include recycling at DWSWA Convenience Centers, Target Recycling, Carpet Recycling, and the City of Dalton Curbside Recycling Program.
The DWSWA manages four Convenience Centers where residents of Whitfield County take their household garbage for transportation to the Old Dixie Landfill. However, in a step to go beyond garbage, all four Convenience Centers also have containers to collect recyclables. Recyclables collected include mixed paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles #1 and #2, and clear, brown, and green glass bottles and jars. If residents using the convenience centers were to bring just five pounds of recyclables each time they dropped off their garbage, together it would add up to more than 2,000,000 pounds a year being diverted from the landfill. That small effort proves how each of us can make a difference.
Residents can drop off their yard waste and brush (less than 6 inches in diameter) to be ground up into mulch. The mulch is then available to residents for their use at no cost, if they load it themselves. Also accepted for recycling are tires, car batteries, scrap metal, household appliances, and used motor oil. There is a small fee for tires at all four locations, and a small transportation fee for bulky items at Westside, M.L. King, and McGaughey Chapel Convenience Centers. Electronics can be dropped off at the Old Dixie location for recycling. For a complete list of items accepted and applicable fees, visit our website www.DWSWA.org or call 706-278-5001.
The DWSWA’s Materials Recovery Facility manages a program called Target Recycling that enables local public schools and local businesses to recycle by bringing a 6 ft. x 6 ft. x 6 ft. container to their location. Recyclables collected include mixed paper, cardboard, and in some cases plastic bottles and aluminum cans. About once a week the Target Recycling truck picks up the recyclables for transportation to the Materials Recovery Facility. The truck also weighs each container so over time each location can see its progress.
Target Recycling began in the fall of 2008 and continues to grow in Whitfield County. It includes an educational component that teaches students and the public about recycling. The star of the program is the mascot, Recycling Ben, whose image is seen on the yellow and green containers and collection truck. There are currently over 220 front-loader containers that make recycling more convenient than ever. For more information about this program, call the Recycling Center at 706-278-5001 or visit www.DWSWA.org.
Managing carpet waste is certainly a high priority in the “Carpet Capital of the World” and the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority provides residents with the opportunity to recycle most of this unique waste stream. Local installers and residents can bring their carpet and padding waste to the Old Dixie Landfill, put it into a special container and pay reduced landfill charges to support an important waste disposal alternative. The carpet is sorted based on its face fiber, allowing most of this carpet to be recycled. In 2009 this program diverted approximately 1 million pounds of post-consumer carpet from the landfill.
City of Dalton Curbside Recycling
The City of Dalton Public Works Department manages the collection of recyclables from the curb for 7,500 households in the city. In 2009 the city collected 1,010.9 tons of recyclables, breaking its previous recycling records. Three curbside recycling trucks collect and deliver recyclables for processing to the Materials Recovery Facility. Items accepted include mixed paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastic bottles #1 and #2, aluminum cans, tin or bi-metal cans, clear, brown, and green glass bottles and jars. Visit www.cityofdalton-ga.gov or call City of Dalton Public Works at 706-278-7077 for more details or to request a recycling bin.
Household Hazardous Waste
Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority also operates a permanent household hazardous waste collection facility at the Old Dixie Landfill site that is open the third Saturday of every month from 7:00am – 2:00pm. This site is designed to give Whitfield County residents an environmentally friendly disposal option for common household items that are hazardous and toxic – items that many people may not realize can cause harm to our environment and health if not disposed of properly. For more information about this program, call 706-277-2545 or to see a complete list of materials accepted visit www.DWSWA.org.
Landfill Gas to Energy
The DWSWA developed and operates a Landfill Gas to Energy project in keeping with its goal of environmental sustainability, rather than in response to a regulatory requirement. This system collects, compresses, dehydrates and transports landfill gas to a Dow Chemical facility two miles from the landfill to offset Dow’s use of natural gas, a nonrenewable fossil fuel. Landfill Gas to Energy provides a reliable source of renewable energy to a local industry, minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, and provides a revenue source that will repay project development costs and fund operation and future expansion of the landfill gas to energy program.
Wetland Mitigation Bank
The Conasauga River Mitigation Bank occupies three tracts of land totaling approximately 120 acres on the west bank of the Conasauga River in southeast Whitfield County, near unincorporated Tilton and not far from the Old Dixie Landfill. A mitigation bank is a wetland, stream or other aquatic resource area that has been restored, established, enhanced, or preserved and then set aside to compensate for future impacts to aquatic resources resulting from permitted activities. In addition to the environmental benefits, the Conasauga River Mitigation Bank results in economic benefits by selling the generated wetland and stream credits to local developers to offset their project impairment.
Greener Every Day
Local solid waste services now include extensive recycling programs, a household hazardous waste program, a landfill gas to energy project, and the wetland mitigation bank. Whitfield County is getting greener every day and the DWSWA is leading the way with an integrated solid waste management system. However, your participation is needed, “Don’t Waste Your Chance to Recycle”. Visit www.DWSWA.org or call 706-278-5001 to learn more about recycling at home, at work, and at school.