Winnie Anne Wright
February 28, 2014
Lowndes County, GA - Advanced Disposal is a name not many in Lowndes County had heard of until last year, but the controversial waste collection company is making waves… again.
Some residents in Lowndes County are wondering where their recycling is going after Advanced Disposal was asked to leave The City of Valdosta’s Recycling Center.
“I'm putting it in the blue bins for them. Hopefully it does get recycled, because I'll take it back to the Valdosta City yard if this situation doesn't change, and I'll discontinue my subscription to Advanced Disposal too. That's just unacceptable", says Steve Thompson, an Advanced Disposal Customer in the county.
Advanced Disposal is contracted to provide trash, recycling, and yard waste services to residents of Lowndes County. According to ADS, the City of Valdosta kicked them out of the recycling center last December. The City's reason, according to Advanced Disposal, was that their recycling contained too much garbage. Mary O'Brien with ADS says they weren't told that this was a problem and were given very little warning.
“We were given absolutely no advanced notice. They made it affective that day. And again, we weren’t bringing waste to their MRF. We were bringing recyclables separate from the garbage we collect.”
The City of Valdosta says their MRF, or materials recycling facility, never had a contract with ADS and gave plenty of warning before asking them to leave.
"The City asked Advanced Disposal to the recycling center here after being told numerous times not to dump recyclables that were mixed with household garbage. The City couldn't justify the extra labor and the cost assigned to those tasks for a center that was created for City services", says Sementha Matthews, with The City of Valdosta.
ADS says, since being asked to leave the Recycling Center, they’ve had to get creative. According to Greg Walk, General Manager at Advanced Disposal, the recycling is stored at the Evergreen Landfill until Attaway Recycling sends a truck. It’s then its loaded into the back of a semi and hauled to Milledgeville for processing.
ADS says they’re currently taking on the additional cost of having the recycling shipped to Milledgeville. According to the County’s contract with Advanced Disposal, the cost of pickup cannot exceed $12.80 per month, meaning if ADS puts the cost of shipping back on the consumer, it will be a breach of contract with the county.
“Currently there are no provisions for any price increase in the services of curbside pick-up for Advanced Disposal to the citizens of Lowndes County. So, I am sure that will be an issue that if they choose to address it with the county, it will be looked at very very seriously", says Bill Slaughter, Lowndes County Commission Chairman.
Both the County and Advanced Disposal say they would like to resume recycling locally, but have no plans to resume recycling at the Valdosta Recycling center. The City says until Advanced can find a way to keep recycling and garbage separate, they aren't welcome. All parties do agree that the community needs more information on how to properly recycle.
“I think a lot of the customers are putting the wrong materials in there, but they’re trying to do the right thing. If they would just follow the instructions on the label on top of the containers, they would actually be serving the whole process better", says Brian Hahn, General Manager for Advanced Disposal in Lowndes County.
Advanced Disposal is contracted with the County through 2018 and says they will continue to ship the recycled goods from Lowndes County to Milledgeville until either they reach an agreement with the city, or find another third party locally that will accept the recyclables.