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Companies turn trash into cash
Businesses split private collection of garbage
011907 WASTE SERVICE
Kenny Thomas makes the last drop-off of the week Friday at the Statesboro/Bulloch County landfill. Thomas co-owns a private waste disposal service with his wife, Penny. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    If one man's trash is another man's treasure, two local companies are grateful for all the trash produced by Bulloch County's citizens.
    For Karye Evans of Southern Disposal and Penny Thomas of Thomas Disposal, that trash is their business and they provide garbage services for those not served by city trash pickup.
    When Evans was looking to leave Indiana, she had no intention of ever getting into the garbage disposal business.
    But when her brother called and told her there was a business for sale in Statesboro, she laughed and said "you're not going to get me into the garbage business, are you?"
    That conversation took place in the spring of 2004. By June of that year, she'd moved to Statesboro and on July 1, she signed the papers and became co-owner of Southern Disposal with her brother and sister-in-law.
    "We've found Statesboro to be some kind of place," she said. "We were very blessed by the people and very welcomed."
    Her brother's business, based in Dublin, actually started with just him picking up trash on his day off.
    "He lived in Laurens County and and they didn't have any county trash pickup. He saw a need and started by himself, picking up on Monday when he was off," she said.
    Since taking over the business, Evans said she's gotten very involved with the community, including joining Southern Boosters and the Homebuilders Association.
    In fact, Peggy Chapman, director of the Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce, has nicknamed her "The Trash Lady," which Evans says she laughs at.
    Her business focuses on both commercial and residential garbage disposal with a fleet of 15 trucks to handle all kinds of waste. Her business also handles garbage for Georgia Southern.
    "We feel very fortunate to get that contract," she said.
    Between her company and her brother's, she said they can handle jobs anywhere between Macon and Savannah.
    "We pride ourselves on customer service. If we don't do the job right, we want to make it right."
    Meanwhile Penny Thomas and her husband, Kenny, have been running Thomas Disposal for nine years, ever since they moved to Bulloch County from Florida.
    "My husband worked in sanitation services when we lived in Florida, so that's probably one reason we got into it when we moved here," Penny Thomas said.
    Initially they started out with one small pickup truck and would make their rounds. Eventually that grew into a larger pickup truck and now they run a large garbage truck to serve their approximately 1,500 residential customers.
    Thomas said they only do residential pickup buy offer several special services, including yard waste pickup and bulk items like used refrigerators.
    "We try to accommodate them with that service," Thomas said.
    Thomas said she gets thank you cards and appreciation letters frequently from her customers, thanking the company for the job they do.
    "It makes me feel great," she said. "A lot of people overlook  this service and I don't know why. It's definitely something that's needed."