By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
County officials are reminding citizens not to place fluorescent light bulbs and thermostats in containers that will be emptied in Edgecombe County Solid Waste facility on Colonial Road. The items were banned from the landfill by state officials July 1, 2011.
"They were banned because of the Mercury content," said Gail Mosley, Edgecombe County Landfill administrative assistant. "It's a state law and we have to abide by it."
The mandate forced all state landfills to designate areas to recycle the unwanted goods. Edgecombe County citizens are urged to bring their fluorescent lights and thermostats to the solid waste facility. The items will be placed in its designated area until they are picked up by a company that will recycle them. The company will extract the mercury and then dispose them.
One of the county's most recent problems involved a county business taking its fluorescent bulbs to one of the county's nine recycling centers. Mosley explained the lights should be taken to the solid waste facility. She also said businesses will be charged a fee for the disposal.
The collection of thermostats is not as plentiful as those of fluorescent lights. Mosley said the landfill has only a handful.
Other items that were most recently banned from the landfill are televisions, computers and computer parts, scanners and printers. Those items are also kept until a company picks them up for recycling.
In an attempt to create a safer environment and to prevent landfills from filling up prematurely, recycling has become a big industry all across the United States. Edgecombe County recycles tons and tons of items from fluorescent lights to motor oil. These days, the solid waste facility is more than just a dumping site — it's an elaborate operation that requires attention to detail.
"There are so many rules and regulations that we must go by," Mosley said. "It's not like it used to be when people would bring stuff to the site and dump it. We have special places for tires, household garbage, yard waste, computers and everything else.
"It is very important that we recycle to keep items that don't belong in the landfill. We only have but so much space. When it's gone, then what are we going to do?"
Mosley explained that the Edgecombe landfill is used mainly for yard waste and construction and demolition debris. Household garbage collected at the sites is trucked to the Bertie County landfill.
On a different note, Mosley pointed out that Edgecombe County Solid Waste facility and its recycling centers are not for citizens who lives in municipalities, but only county residents. Municipalities are responsible for their own recycling plans, she said.