For the first time ever, Cumberland County has been recognized as the Government Recycler of The Year in Tennessee.
The award comes from the Tennessee Recycling Coalition. Solid Waste Director Conrad Welch said with this recognition, his department cannot take any steps backwards.
“It’s kind of raised the bar,” Welch said. “It’s been difficult with COVID and so many activities were canceled the last few years. So we’re trying to use this as a spring board to be out in the community more.”
Litter Prevention and Education Specialist Carrie Smith said the department goes above and beyond by recycling things like propane tanks, electronics, batteries and much more. Smith said the department brings in an outside group twice a year to collect litter in hard to reach places.
“We have a team of people who come in, we call them The Gambler,” Smith said. “They’re from all over the United States and some from other countries. They come through and ride back roads and trails and mountain sides and pick litter up. So these people are really passionate about what they do.”
Smith said a point of pride for the department is offering recycling education at events across the county. She said even with the county’s achievement, it still takes effort from everyone.
“Volunteer to make a difference,” Smith said. “Do your part and recycle, if you see litter, pick it up.”
Smith said that all 95 counties in Tennessee were eligible to receive this award.