Valdosta Daily Times

January 10, 2013

Rural trash pick-up service to begin Feb. 1

Burning without permit illegal, recycling centers to close

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Some residents living in unincorporated Lowndes County remain confused about changes in their curbside waste pick-up and recycling services after the Board of Commissioners passed a contract with a single disposal contractor in late 2012.

The county has received “a few calls” from residents affected by the change in the past month, said County Clerk Paige Dukes. Advanced Disposal, the sole waste disposal contractor for the county, has added additional staff to handle the transition period.

Advanced Disposal will provide curbside household, yard and bulky waste pick-up as well as curbside recycling when the service begins Feb. 1. The service will cost each resident $12.80 per month, but the county cannot force residents to enter into a service agreement with the disposal company, Dukes said.

“It’s not mandatory, but under the current ordinance, Advanced Disposal is the only household waste that operates in Lowndes County,” Dukes said. “There’s not an additional option for curbside pickup, and the recycling centers are not going to be open. There are only certain ways you can legally dispose of household garbage.”

These methods do not include burning.

While residents can (and must) obtain a permit, which is free, to burn organic yard waste such as leaves, grass and tree

trimmings, the burning of household waste is strictly prohibited.

“If you look at all the toxins and chemicals involved in household trash, they could put off toxic chemicals that can cause injury very quickly,” Dukes said.

Dumping household waste in commercial trash receptacles — green garbage dumpsters — is also illegal, since business owners pay to receive trash services. Ultimately, illegal dumping in commercial containers amounts to a theft of services.

“Solid waste billed for commercial accounts is based on how much the garbage weighs when you dump it,” Dukes said. “If you’re throwing household trash in there, they’re having to pay.”

Because recycling/collection centers will close Feb. 3 as a result of the change in services, residents will also be unable to take recycling to county centers. Advanced Disposal will pick up recycling every two weeks for residents with that service agreement.

As for the recycling/collection centers’ employees, the two full-time employees at each of the six county sites will be moved to the Lowndes County Public Works Department. About five part-time employees at each of the centers, who work in rotation, will lose their jobs, said Valdosta Recycling Center Site Manager Raymond Cowart.

The County recommends residents in unincorporated areas call Advanced Disposal, (229) 244-2466, to establish service prior to the Feb. 1 start date, to prevent problems due to call volume.