The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced Gallatin was one of 67 grantees to receive recycling-related funding totaling more than $6 million statewide. The City of Gallatin received $12,500 from TDEC to acquire a cardboard bailer. The equipment allows the city to crush and sell cardboard bales from the City’s Recycling Center on Long Hollow Pike.
“Our long-range vision is to have a much more robust recycling program, and this is just one more tool to get us there,” said Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown.
The City of Gallatin collects nearly 25 tons of cardboard each month. Previously, a third party was processing cardboard collected from the recycling center at no cost, but the City was not paid for the material. Now the same vendor will pay approximately $125 per ton for the cardboard bales, averaging $3,000 per month.
The TDEC grant is a 50/50 matching grant, with half of the $25,000 reimbursed by the state and the City paying the other 50 percent or $12,500.
Public Works Director Zach Wilkinson says the equipment will also mitigate ongoing service issues with the cardboard bins. “We were having trouble with the dumpsters being overfilled because we were receiving so much, so this should alleviate that,” said Wilkinson. “The baler will require extra labor to maintain, but people who use the recycling center will appreciate the difference.”
TDEC grants aim to support community recycling efforts in a statewide effort to reduce landfill waste. “TDEC is committed to increasing the diversion and beneficial use of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or contaminating our waters,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “These grants will help local communities meet the ever-growing challenge of finding ways to reuse materials that would otherwise be discarded to benefit our economy and protect our environment.”
This is the City’s second investment in their recycling program in the past six months. Last December, the City installed a glass crusher, funded through another TDEC grant. The crusher allows Public Works to produce a glass aggregate that can be used in different public works projects instead of paying $9 per ton for similar aggregate materials and avoiding the $40/ton recycling fee for glass.