In a continuing effort to follow up on stories written in the past, The Crossroads Chronicle has an update this week concerning the future of the Swainsboro Recycling Center. In the first installment as published in the June 15 edition, “State of Recycling,” The Chronicle gave a broad overview of how market prices was what determined the fate of the then current Emanuel County Recycling Center. Since that writing, The Chronicle has learned that market prices have stabilized and the market for recyclable materials are now in demand. Enter Jerome Bynes of Veterans Helping Veterans, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based here in Swainsboro. This self startup was an idea he got from going to San Francisco, California and living among the homeless there to find out how veterans were coping. What he discovered was that most of the veterans he spoke with just wanted a way to get back on their feet.
Bynes addressed the Swainsboro City Council in its first meeting of the year to ask that they grant him a lease of the old recycling center on Industrial Way for 180 days to pilot a program, at no cost to the city, where he would utilize veterans and other people “down on their luck” to operate the facility. The council voted unanimously to allow him access to the building for him to evaluate what is currently there and what he will need from other venders he has contact with to supply him with the necessary equipment. In return, Bynes will have to provide a written proposal, along with scheduled updates to the council as to the progress of the project.
Bynes stated that plans are to begin by taking plastics and cardboard initially and hopefully expanding later to take glass and eventually tires. He also hopes to get donations so that bins can be built and placed at local businesses so that broken down cardboard boxes can be placed in them for pickup. He further stated he has national contacts as well as Atlanta contacts as to who will be able to take the recycling. He will continue to make those contacts and hopes to add to them in the near future.
The Chronicle asked him what he needed from the community, and he said he has a “wish list” that includes but is not limited to cow panels to make the bins for cardboard, anything that can be used as a bin-like maybe from farmers, or other manufacturing companies that they no longer use. He can also use monetary donations and plans to have a volunteer day where the community has an opportunity to come out and lend a hand.
I then explained to him that in the mid- to late 1980’s, myself and a group of volunteers got together on Saturdays and cleaned up the old Farmers Mutual Exchange building, which became the first recycling center. Hopefully, this can happen again.
Bynes hopes to have the program up and running by the first of March. He really hopes to bring on board the area young people so they will have buy in to the importance of recycling. In the meantime, if anyone in the community has any experience with running a recycling facility and would like to add his/her expertise to the process, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The citizens of Emanuel County and The Crossroads Chronicle staff hope that in March, we will again be able to help the environment by doing our part here locally.