Person County has built a reputation across the state for its progressive efforts in collecting recyclables.
In addition to a program that helps employ developmentally delayed residents, providing them with income and a sense of responsibility, the county’s recycling program is also partnering with a local industry to provide raw materials for the company.
But all that stopped March 23 as the effects of the coronavirus began to take hold. Recycling Center director Amanda Everett closed the center at noon that day.
The plans are to reopen on April 6 and Everett says the operation will look a little bit different for a while.
“We will make sure to meet social distancing guidelines. We will not be able to provide assistance unloading vehicles,” Everett said.
Recycling center officials are asking people to hold off bringing bulky items for now and to limit their load to just household recycling.
she hopes residents have been stockpiling their recyclables during the time the center has been shut down.
We’re hoping during this two weeks that individuals were still practicing their recycling habits. We don’t want to see that go to waste or for people to give up,” Everett said.
If, as Everett hopes, people have simply stockpiled their recycling for disposal when the recycling center reopens, she expects a large volume of recycling materials to show up quickly. “We will handle the massive amount of materials that are coming our way, because we want people to know how seriously we take it,” Everett said.
The recycling center has had to send some of its workers – Person Industry clients – home during the closure, but Everett said keeping the rest of the facility’s workers employed has been important.
“To me, that is a great blessing. There are so many out there right now that have the added stress of being without work and money woes on top of this pandemic,” Everett said.
Those employees who have worked through the closure have been busy catching up on work that couldn’t be done when they were dealing with the daily volume of recycling materials that come through the facility.
“During this closure, it has given us a small window of opportunity to catch up on sorting through material we have in the house,” Everett said. Sorting that recyclable material means the center can sell the material as individual commodities and generate some revenue for the program during the closure.