Recycling Not Fading, Despite East Tennessee Cut

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The decision of the nation’s largest recycling company to drop residential recycling service to some East Tennessee residents is not indicative of the national trend, a University of Tennessee specialist said Wednesday.

“A lot of communities in the Southeast and across the country are still very much committed to residential recycling and curbside programs,” said Catherine Wilt of UT’s Energy, Environment and Resources Center and a director of the National Recycling Coalition.

“I think there is still a growth in public interest and positive sentiment toward recycling and individual desire to be part of the solution.”

Waste Management this week ended its free recycling service to Knox and surrounding counties because it was too expensive, the firm said. About 3,500 of the company’s 10,000 customers in those counties used the free service.

Customers with bottles, cans and paper to recycle will have to seek another carrier or take the goods to recycle centers, Wilt said.

Curbside recycling may help get more people to participate but is not the most efficient way to collect the largest amount of recyclable materials, Wilt said. Methods such as community drop-off centers and industrial programs also are effective, she said.

“Public education is important, because people need to know what their other options are,” Wilt said.

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Contact: Catherine Wilt (423-974-4251)

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