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Here's where you can take recycling in Dawson County
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Recycling trailers, like this one at the River Park Canoe launch next to the Etowah River, have been placed around Dawson County on a trial basis. - photo by Allie Dean

You may have noticed three recycling trailers at new locations around Dawson County.

An initiative by the county public works department and Keep Dawson County Beautiful has placed the trailers around the county on a trial basis to determine if the volume of recycling in the county goes up and if citizens are using the service properly.

Public Works Director David McKee said Tuesday that at the end of 60 days he hopes to go before the board of commissioners to update them on the results of the trial period.

There have been no county-owned recycling trailers located outside the transfer station since the Dawson County Board of Education asked for them to be removed earlier this year as part of their efforts to increase school safety and cut down on the number of visitors outside school buildings.

“Recycling didn’t go down when the trailers were removed,” McKee said. “It went down initially and then went back up because people started taking their recycling to the transfer station.”

McKee said the trailers weren’t put back out because the program was being abused. He said the county was consistently being billed by Advanced Disposal, who processes the county’s recycling, for contaminated items that were placed in the recycling but had to be thrown away.

Public works had to account for that extra cost, which McKee said he hadn’t budgeted for.

“The issue is the trailers are unmanned. At the transfer station the employees can say that something isn’t recyclable,” McKee said. “For example a jar of peanut butter-it’s recyclable, but it has to be soap and water washed.”

Another issue is manpower- the recycling program was started by KDCB but is the responsibility of the public works staff.

“We pick the trailers up and manually, piece by piece, take the items out,” McKee said. “It takes four or five man hours doing that every time we swap the trailers out.”

After a request the trailers have been put back out again. McKee said he hopes to tell the board of commissioners that there are no issues with keeping the recycling trailers out; if the trailers are not abused, they’re likely to remain.

“Pay attention to what you’re recycling and make sure it is clean and washed, and put it in the trailer and not beside it,” he said.

The three new locations are at fire station no. 2, located at 145 Liberty Drive next to the Tractor Supply; at fire station no. 4, located at 245 Emma Terrace; and at the River Park Canoe Launch, located off Hwy. 9 S next to the Etowah River.

Trash bags and trash items will not be picked up from the trailer locations and leaving trash in or at the trailers will be considered illegal dumping.

Items that can be put in the trailers include cardboard, paper, aluminum cans and plastics numbered 1-7. Items that cannot be put in the trailers include soiled food items, Styrofoam, broken glass or glass items.

Recyclable items can still be taken to the Dawson County Transfer Station at 946 Burt Creek Road in Dawsonville at no charge. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Acceptable items include household batteries, aluminum cans, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, paper, motor oil and plastics numbered 1-7. Tire recycling is also available for a fee. For a full list of accepted and unaccepted items, visit the Dawson County website.

KDCB Executive Director Kara Wilkins said that recycling supports the mission of KDCB by reducing the pollution caused by waste.

“Our mission is to encourage citizens to take greater responsibility in the beautification of Dawson County,” Wilkins said.