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Holidays create tons of garbage
City and private haulers struggle to meet demand
W BIZ HOLIDAY TRASH 1
Sanitation workers preserved one holiday icon atop a dumpster while they process holiday trash at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Transfer Station and Recycling Facility Monday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
      The season of giving just keeps on giving particularly if you are in the business of removing trash from residences and commercial sites. It is estimated that 25 percent more waste is generated during the holiday season - more than any other time throughout the year.
       The increase places a tremendous burden on city, county, and private waste haulers that operate in this area. "It is really hectic right now," said Penny Thomas of Thomas Disposal Service, a private contractor for waste disposal in Bulloch County. "Basically, we have had to take a week's schedule and put it into three days for two consecutive weeks. You can imagine just how excessive the garbage is right now."
       Thomas Disposal is one of three local trash disposal companies that service residential clients outside of the city limits of Statesboro. The city of Statesboro provides trash pickup to those that live in the city.
       "We put extra laborers on the trucks this time of year," Thomas said. "The more people that are on the trucks, the quicker they can load and the more area we can cover. It is a lot of hard work."
       All of the trash - including recyclables - that is collected in the city and county ultimately ends up in the county transfer station on Lakeview Road. From there the garbage/solid waste is hauled to a landfill area in Wayne County. The recyclables are taken by different companies.
       Jenna Lawson serves as director of Keep Bulloch Beautiful working in conjunction with city and county officials regarding local recycling efforts. "I have been told by Bob Smith, director of the Department of Environmental Management for the county, that anywhere between 250 to 300 tons of garbage per day are processed at the Bulloch County transfer site," she said. "During the Christmas season, that goes up approximately 30 percent. It is a massive amount of garbage that is produced. Recyclables are expected to be about 5500 tons this year."
      On the Saturday after Christmas, Bob Haranda was stationed at the county manned recyclable and trash site at the corner of Burkhalter and Pretoria Rushing Roads. Haranda said his site had been extremely busy the entire day.
      "In addition to the bins that are there for bulk waste and recyclable waste, we have a large bin for trash," he said. "They have come and emptied that bin six times today. It has been kind of nuts, but everyone has been very cooperative. They just seem to want to get all of that stuff out of their homes."
      Local private provider Live Oak Environmental based in Brooklet said the weather has made collection this year very difficult in many areas. "With all  of the rain that we have had, many of the dirt roads in the county are very damaged," said Live Oak owner Buddy Turner. "We know that the county is doing all that it can to repair and maintain these roads, but all of the rain has really done a number on some of them. Some roads are simply impassable, and getting to some of the homes takes much longer than it normally would. It's just one of those things that is out of our control. I just hope that people understand that."
      David Spillman of Southern Disposal said his company is facing the same challenges. "We have been inundated with calls," he said. "People are anxious to have their garbage removed, but with Christmas falling on Friday, schedules had to be altered. We do put on an extra truck to pick up on the day we lost, but like the other companies that service accounts in the county, the roads are an issue. It has been a very wet fall."
      Lawson said more and more people are making use of the recycling bins at the 17 recycle centers located throughout the county.
      "The amount of recyclables is steadily increasing, and we are very happy about that," she said. "At 15 of the 17 centers, folks can also drop off their garbage, so they can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. It is just so important that we recycle. It benefits us all."
      Lawson said corrugated cardboard is the most recycled item. "By far, it is cardboard," she said. "You may have noticed the wire bins behind businesses. That is what they are there for. That is the only recycling that is picked up."
      Lawson also wanted everyone to know about a special recycling event coming up on January 9. "You can bring your Christmas tree to Anderson's General Store on Highway 80 East hand it will be run through the chipper."
      To learn more about "Bring One for the Chipper", you can visit Keep Bulloch Beautiful's website at www.keepbullochbeautiful.org.