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New recycling equipment can handle extra material
Buddy Blanchard welds the base of a newly installed baler Monday at the Hall County Recycling Center. The new baler, which compacts recyclable materials into tight bales to be sold to various vendors, cost around $360,000 and replaces the baler that was in use for about 20 years.

Hall County Recycling Center

When: The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; a drop-off location in front of the office is available at all hours.

Where: 1008 Chestnut St. SE, Gainesville

A new piece of equipment at the Hall County Recycling Center will increase efficiency and hopefully attract more users.

A baler has been installed and is able to process and package twice as many recyclables as the former one.

“The baler we had was about 20-plus years old,” Solid Waste Director Johnnie Vickers said. 

The old baler was high-maintenance, he said. The parts that needed to be fixed were becoming outdated with technology.

“It’s kind of like buying a car,” he added. “You put 100,000 miles on it, you’re ready to get something different, or most people are. And this piece right here, we’ve just got more product coming in than what our system can handle and with the breakdowns that we’ve had, it put us in a bad situation.”

The baler takes the recyclable material and packs it into squares to then be hauled away by outside vendors for sale. The recycling center, at 1008 Chestnut St. in Gainesville, goes through around 6,500 tons of material annually.

“The good thing about this new baler, we’re going to go out to other markets to get more recyclables into our center,” Public Works and Utilities Director Ken Rearden said. “Even the commercial haulers that pick up recyclables from commercial establishments, we have a buy-back program that we do and we will pay them to bring the recyclables here. Then we’ll bale it, and we’ll get more money than what we pay them to where the county pulls out ahead.”

Vickers said the new piece of machinery should also help the landfill.

“We’re creating airspace at the landfill with the product that we normally put in the ground that we’re not putting in the ground,” he said. “That helps extend the life of (the) landfill for Hall County. It’s all like a big puzzle coming together. It really does help me over there, and it helps the economy. It helps the green space. It touches every bit of it.”

The new equipment cost around $360,000. Rearden said he hopes to sell the old baler at around $70,000.

The new baler was installed at the Chestnut Street location Monday, and training continues through today. Vickers said no one using the recycling center should notice any changes.

“It’s just that we’ve updated our equipment and we’ve got the capability of taking on more product now and more customers,” he added. “We welcome anybody that would like to come and participate.

“We encourage everybody to recycle more, be conscientious of the environment and send their products to us.”

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