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County urged to launch green recycling initiative

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SMITHFIELD — A local recycler has challenged the Johnston County Board of Commissioners to consider going green with its waste disposal.

“A lot of business today is anti-landfill,” said Mike Buzard of Beverage Destruction Service in Smithfield. “The amount of people coming into the landfills is down. What our company did was join the North Carolina Recycling Association, an organization that brings people up to speed about how to get recycling going and profitable.”

Buzard cited the recycling operation in Port St. Lucie, Florida, as having a successful recycling operation.

“Port St. Lucie began a recycling program five years ago They separate recycling and sell to others,” said Buzard. “They’ve taken the middleman out and said ‘We’re going to recycle and separate, getting the best price for aluminum and plastic.’ Separating and selling has generated $100,000 per month.”

Buzard discussed the important of having materials recovering facilities, known as MRFs.

“Other counties are either exploring or going forward with a MRF,” said Buzard. “Single-stream recycling of cardboard, plastics and tires costs us money. MRFs separate them and makes money. When you have separated recycling, you have commodities.”

Buzard suggested using prison labor to separate items and to build the MRF.

At the recent North Carolina Recycling Association meeting, Buzard said half of the state’s 100 counties were represented but that he was the only person from Johnston County in attendance.

“We are lagging behind in our recycling effort,” said Buzard.

Commissioner Tony Braswell endorsed Buzard’s effort.

“Their facility is amazing, how he does it, said Braswell. “With the right machinery and right plan, we can generate income.”

“We’re a beverage destruction company,” said Buzard. “We (take) broken pallets, give them to artists and for flooring. Bottle caps are given away to artists. All of this stuff can be done, it’s a matter of putting these companies together. I just wanted to make the board aware of everything available today that weren’t there 10 years ago. A lot of counties are being successful. Welcome to Port Lucie, making $100,000 per month.”

The commissioners directed County Manager Rick Hester to analyze Buzard’s presentation and offer them a report.