A materials recovery facility could help reduce the amount of waste coming out of the Putnam County transfer station.
The new solid waste technology puts garbage through a drying process and works to sort out valuable recyclables.
County Mayor Randy Porter said the drying process would be key to reducing the amount of garbage the county sends to the Rhea County landfill.
“43-percent of garbage is water, so this drying process will cut that from 43-percent down to 9-percent.” Porter said. “34-percent less tonnage is going to the landfill if you go through this drying process.”
Porter said the new technology turns the dried waste into a light weight product called “fluff”, which can be used for ground cover and other commercial purposes.
In addition to shredding and drying the waste, the technology also uses sensors to sort through recyclable materials. The valuable plastics pulled out through the sorting process could then be sold to potential buyers.
“The big thing is what it’s going to do to our recyclables,” Porter said. “Somewhere between 7 and 10 fold we’d increase our recyclables, so if we are currently selling $250,000 we could be up to $2 million.”
Porter said he and other county officials have studied the idea of using the new technology for the past year. He estimates the county could reduce the landfill waste by 30-40-percent, which would save the county about $540,000 a year. Putnam County currently pays $1.8 million to haul waste to Rhea County.
Porter said that number will continue to increase if the county doesn’t find a way to reduce landfill waste.
“When I came into office that was about $1.5 million and over four years we are already up to $1.8,” Porter said. “We’ve got more homes being built, the county is growing, and we’ve become a throw away society.”
Porter said overall savings to the county would be about $2.5 million a year.
“The key to this is the equipment cost. You’re looking at somewhere….[between] 7-9 million dollars to put the equipment in at the solid waste station,” Porter said “but it would pay for itself within four years.”
Porter said he might be asking the county commission to consider utilizing the technology sometime later this year.