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Waste facilities see scant crowds after Christmas blitz

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

At home, Jeff and Renee Murdock neatly separated the boxes of newspaper and bags of holiday gift wrapping paper, expecting to join a post-Christmas Day crowd of like-minded folks.

"We firmly believe in recycling," Renee said.

"We're taking care of our environment," said Jeff.

"So that our children will have a healthy environment to grow up in," added Renee.

But few were out recycling Wednesday.

The McDonough couple say they were trapped in a sort of traffic jam at the Henry County Recycling Center a year ago. This year, however, they were among the few to visit the center Wednesday.

"Christmas holidays, we usually have a lot more recycling going on," said James Hamm, the center's president of operations.

Hamm says he believes the crowds will come eventually. Next week, beginning Jan. 5, recycling centers around metro Atlanta will begin their "Bring One For The Chipper" drives to recycle live Christmas trees.

"Next week, we'll get a lot," he said.

The expected increase follows an increase in general recycling for the center, located at 65 West Asbury Road in McDonough. Recycling bins have regularly overflowed at the center, which recently increased its staff, as more and more people are recycling now.

"People have more time than they have money," Hamm said. "People would rather sort [recyclable goods] than pay [to dispose of it]."

The center typically collects six tons of solid waste per day. But during the three weeks following Christmas, the center routinely averages about 10 tons of waste.

Much of the solid waste in Henry ends up in the Clayton County Landfill in Lovejoy. The landfill collects about 250 tons of solid waste per day, according to landfill manager Hiram Henderson.

The landfill has also experienced a surprising dip in collections this Dec. 26. All day Wednesday, fewer patrons turned out than on a normally slow business day, according to Henderson.

"Usually, the day after Christmas is our busiest day," he said. "But there's nobody here."

The landfill, located at 11678 Hastings Bridge Road in Lovejoy, takes solid waste from counties throughout the Southern Crescent with most of it coming from Clayton, and nearly 25 percent coming from Henry.

The 400-acre landfill has two dump sites that remain open, including the 60-acre lined landfill for non-organic material.

The landfill is open Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturdays, from 7 a.m. -4 p.m. The Clayton County Recycling Drop-off Center, located at 1430 Ga. Highway 138 in Jonesboro, is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday- Saturday.

The Henry County Recycling Center is open Monday- Saturday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.