After waste characterization studies demonstrated that waste associated with the carpet industry continued to fill the landfill, the Authority began to plan for a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), located at the landfill, primarily designed to divert carpet and paper associated with the carpet industry to market or to the carpet monofill. Although the facility was primarily designed to divert solid waste from the Subtitle D landfill, the MRF currently process and markets carpet, carpet pad, and tubes, cores, and cones from the carpet industry, plastic bottles and jugs with the #1 or #2 recycling symbol, newspaper & magazines, mixed paper, bi-metal cans, telephone books, cardboard, aluminum cans, and glass (clear, brown & green). The Authority continues to look at options to market and divert these materials.
The 40,000 square foot facility has a simple layout and was designed after visiting public and private processing facilities around the southeast. Vehicles enter through one of three 16 ft. wide by 25 ft. high receiving doors. At the opposite end of the building are six dock doors for inbound and outbound trailers. The open floor area adjacent to the baler allows for sorting and separating materials. Materials are stored along the perimeter walls of the MRF. A fully outfitted training and education facility overlooks the processing floor and is frequented by local school groups. The $2 million cost of the facility was funded by the Authority’s enterprise fund, with the exception of a $200,000 grant from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) for the purchase of the baler. As a result, there is no debt on the facility.
The MRF utilizes four full time employees and a six man inmate labor crew provided by Hays State Prison. The MRF can process over 100 tons per day, store up to 20 trailer loads of baled recyclables, and can deliver 25 to 50 trailer loads to market each month. The facility bales material that is then sent either to the monofill (carpet only) or to market.
The MRF has allowed the Authority, the County and cities, and local schools, businesses, and industry, to expand recycling programs to all sectors of the community. New and expanded programs that were facilitated by the MRF include the following.
- The Authority began to collect more recycled commodities at their four drop-off centers.
- The Authority partnered with the City of Dalton to sort, process and market the materials from their curbside collection program.
- The Authority began to collect recyclables from City and County Schools.
- The Authority began to collect post-consumer carpet (PCC) from local carpet installers.
- Partnering with the largest U.S. carpet manufacturer to receive, sort, bale and market one to two tractor trailers of post consumer carpet a day.
- The Authority began to collect and process bottles and cans at various outdoor events using two trailers and 200 “Away From Home” bins awarded under a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
- Provided free recycling bins to the users of our four drop-off centers to encourage recycling.
- Initiated a “Target Recycling” program by partnering with local businesses and schools to host 170 front load containers throughout the community to provide easier access for local businesses and their employees to bring their recyclables from home.