Recycling program saves Shelby County government $13K

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Recycling isn’t just good for the planet; it’s good for taxpayers as well.

An in-house recycling program started in June has already saved the Shelby County government more than $13,000, according to Tom Needham, the director of Shelby County Public Works.

The savings come from selling the recycled materials to recycling companies instead of paying fees at the landfill to dump debris.

“An effective community recycling initiative works best when government employees participate,” said John Zeanah, the administrator of the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability.

In total, 96 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and metal cans have been collected from 14 county government buildings. Corrections center inmates sort the materials.

“Recycling is a growing industry,” said Bill Gupton, the director of the Shelby County Corrections Center. “Inmates with these skills will have a better chance for employment upon their release.”

The recycling program has earned a 4-Star Community rating and a Gold Award from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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