A recycling trailer delivered to Highlands in late June from Macon County gives residents and visitors another option to dispose of recyclable materials at the Highlands Rec Park. This came to fruition after Macon County Solid Waste Management Director Chris Stahl contacted Town Manager Josh Ward and told him he had an idea that may work well in Highlands. Stahl was in the process of ordering a new design of trailer for the Highlands Transfer Station on Rich Gap Road and thought it would be a good fit for downtown Highlands.
The old design is a solid box with dividers, Stahl said when one section fills up the entire trailer needed to be emptied. The new design has separate bins that can be emptied separately from the rest of the trailer. Stahl added that mixed paper can cause problems, especially trying to get it off of a flat floor. The new design has a hydraulic dumping mechanism making servicing the trailer much more efficient.
“The town wanted a downtown presence for convenience and people coming in and out of town,” said Stahl. “It’s not our intention to replace the other two centers. If you’re doing your weekly drop, please continue to use your regular center.”
The two centers Stahl is referring to are the transfer station at 1080 Rich Gap Road and 10333 Buck Creek Road.
Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor said that there has been a big need for this in Highlands for some time and this is a small step.
“People still need to use Buck Creek and Rich Gap for large quantities of recycling,” said Taylor. “It’s for convenience if you have a small load.”
Taylor said there are cameras on the trailer and users will be monitored to ensure no one abuses the service. It’s the town’s responsibility to monitor the site, and the county’s responsibility to empty it as needed.
“I am concerned people will try to take advantage by putting in used carpet or old paint,” he said. “We have to monitor it and make sure it’s only used for basic recycling.”
Stahl said Highlands is a test site.
“It’s somewhat of an experiment,” said Stahl. “We don’t have unmanned sites, so this is the experiment site. If people abuse it would be the only reason to halt it.”
The new trailer at the Rec Park is serviced every Thursday, but that may fluctuate with use or lack thereof. Taylor said that if a bin you wanted to use is not there it’s likely being emptied.
“We will monitor it and empty it if it needs to be emptied more than once a week,” said Ward. “It’s convenient to have it here in town to quickly drop your recyclables off. It will also help with Air B&Bs and people coming in and out of town to drop off trash and recyclables on their way.”
The town has also added another trash dumpster so there are now two trash dumpsters and one recycling trailer at the Rec Park. The recycling trailer cost approximately $15,000 and was paid for by the county. The trailer is scheduled to remain downtown year round. Ward said this may not have happened without Stahl’s initiative.
“Chris was great in the process and we appreciate him contacting us and telling us about this opportunity,” said Ward. “I think there’s a lot more people who recycle here than you think.”
Part-time Highlands resident Brittney Gove, who also lives in Atlanta, said she thinks it’s great that the town put a recycling service downtown.
“We’ve wanted somewhere to recycle up here for a while,” said Gove. “We used to take it down to Atlanta with us.”
Gove added that she is glad that others are using the site.
“I’m excited people are using this, it’s usually pretty full.” she said.