Recycling downturn leads to dilemma for those who recycle in Abingdon


Those who are committed to recycling, in the town of Abingdon, are trying to find a new way to dispose of their recyclable trash.

Abingdon ended recycling services Friday, June 28.

There is a dilemma in parts of the Tri-Cities.places accepting recyclable items are slim to none. like Abingdon for example, who just joined the club in June, and now town residents have nowhere to drop off their recyclable items.

Matthew Bolick, director of public services for Abingdon said, “We are looking for places we can step in and take our recycling to.”

Bolick said, recycling facilities cannot find anywhere to take their recycled products.

“Nationally, recycling facilities can’t find anywhere to take their recycled products. There’s not a market for it anymore,” he said.

Abingdon Solid Waste Management was the town’s recycling collector, but the town made an agreement to stop after learning about 25-30 percent of all recyclable items end up in landfills.

Bolick said, “It is an issue that some people were recycling incorrectly. here in Abingdon, we use single-string recycling, so if you put the wrong thing in your recycling bin, it contaminates the whole load. A lot of that would end up going in a landfill.”

The town is looking to jump on the next opportunity for recyclable service.

“I’m hopeful that in a year or two, when there’s a solution in the private sector, the town is ready to start forward and recontinue our recycling program,” Bolick said.

Private sectors like Revolution Curbside Recycling, in Bristol, Virginia is one of three alternatives in the Tri-Cities.

“Plastic and paper go to Carter County facility in a Elizabethton. Cardboard and paper go to Wise Recycling. We really do that because we want to make sure its getting recycled,” Owner of Revolution Curbside Recycling Tasha Foy said.

NOTE: After this segment aired, Foy announced the updated recyclable collection for Wise County to receive cans, and not cardboard and paper.

The facility is working to allow pick up in Abingdon.

Tasha said, “Over the past six months, as different companies have gone out of business and different materials facilities have closed down, we’ve just had to find other sources.”

Bolick said, “Here in the town, we of course charge our citizens a monthly rate for solid waste collection. That rate has not changed due to the fact that we had to suspet our recycling services.”

The city of Bristol, Virginia has limited its recycling to just cardboard. Places like Revolution Curbside Recyling is the only alternative that accepts plastics 1 and 2 for now.

Bristol, Virginia began limiting its recycling in March of 2019. The city has also raised the trash collection price from $22 to $33.

Residents who plan to use Revolution Curbside Recycling will get charged $16/month for pickup. The facility simply picks up your recyclable items and then sorts them out at its warehouse.

For information on what can be recycled, head to the Revolution Curbside Recycling Facebook page.

Other alternatives are Wise Recycling in Bristol, Virginia, the Carter County and TN Recycling Center.

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