The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 9, 2012

Jo Ellis: Recycling center sees boost in use

CARTHAGE, Mo. — I’m always impressed with how neat and clean our Carthage Recycling Center is.

During one of those 100-plus degree days this summer, you probably could have fried an egg on the tarmac and eaten it without suffering serious consequences. Not that I would do that ... I’m just saying.

I was impressed all over again on Saturday when making our monthly recycling trip, especially considering how busy the place was. It was especially busy because of the previous night’s storm. A steady stream of trucks and trailers filled with brush and limbs showed up in addition to the normal refuse customers.

Tim Wofford, the man responsible for managing all that trash and debris, has transformed what used to be known as a landfill site into what can properly be considered a true recycling center. And in the three years he has been there, it even has become financially self-sustaining.

It’s apparent that a lot of Carthage residents like to recycle. Wofford said when he started, about 40 to 50 vehicles a day were counted. Now the daily average is 80 to 85 vehicles on weekdays and around 150 cars and trucks on Saturdays.

It is seldom that Wofford or his full-time assistant, Dane Knell, do not personally come out to help a recycling customer unload when he or she drives up. Wofford said he sees repeat clientele so often they become kind of like family, and are as proud as he is of keeping the center shipshape.

“Chad Wampler had a vision for this place,” said Wofford. As public works director, Wampler was Wofford’s supervisor until he passed away a couple of years ago. Improvements, including a larger paved area, were made, and a large new building was built to contain the glass crusher and for storage.

Almost on cue, Tim Hill, who is in charge of the city’s streets and helps oversee the recycling center with Public Works Director Zeb Carney, drove up and added his comment about Wampler.

“Chad would have been proud of this place,” he said. Hill said that the center serves around 2,200 customers each month.

Items that may be disposed of for free include all newsprint, office paper, cardboard, glass, tin or aluminum cans, and plastics. Cardboard should be clean, flattened and no larger than 4 feet square. Newspapers should be clean, dry and tied in loose bundles or contained in brown paper bags. Tins, aluminum and plastic should have paper labels removed and be rinsed well. Brown, green and clear glass bottles up to a gallon size are accepted if clean and they have their lids removed.

Items not accepted include tires, liquid waste and toxic chemicals. Fees in amounts ranging from $5 to $15 are charged for recycling metals such as appliances and auto parts, electronic items like TVs, monitors and microwaves, and brush and tree limbs. The brush and tree limbs are turned into wood chips or compost, which are free to the public.

A fee also is charged for larger items such as furniture, mattresses, box springs, general trash and construction/demolition wastes that are disposed of into a roll-off trash bin. Soil from construction sites that is suitable for fill is accepted free.

The center’s hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. A fee schedule is available at the center or by calling 417-236-7010.

It’s pretty amazing that a place that brings in all of the used, abused and dirty trash produced by our homes and businesses can be a place you can be proud of and really wouldn’t mind taking your friends to see. But thanks to Tim, Dane and their bosses, the Carthage Recycling Center is precisely that.


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