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Foam tray recycling to continue

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System will continue its foam tray recycling initiative this school year.

During its July meeting, the Newton County Board of Education approved a recommendation from NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews to renew a contact with B&W Waste Inc. for the recycling of foam trays at the system's schools.

The initiative to recycle foam trays began in 2009 to reduce waste collection at NCSS facilities. Thirteen elementary schools participate in the tray recycling program.

Weekly waste pickups and Dumpster usage have decreased since implementing the program. Recycling of cardboard at every school and facility has also contributed to the decreased waste pickups. Deputy Superintendent Dennis Carpenter previously said these eliminations have resulted in a savings of more than $30,000 per year on waste pickup contracts because NCSS is charged per pickup, per can.

"It has eliminated some of the waste taken to the landfill," said school board Chairwoman Cathy Dobbs, who helped spearhead the project.

The contract with B&W Waste Inc., which is located in Madison and is the only known area provider of the service since a company in Gwinnett stopped providing for such last year, is for $35,900, the same price NCSS paid last school year. The company provides for the densification and packaging of the polystyrene foam products as part of the contract.

"This is a good project and the right thing to do," Carpenter said. "We have not realized all of the savings yet."

It's possible more savings could come in the future if NCSS provides its own recycling. Carpenter said a machine to provide the service would cost NCSS up to $10,000, which is possible if the NCSS grant department locates some funding for that project.

"There would be a lot of start-up costs with that program," he said.

The contract with B&W Waste Inc. will expire on July 20.

NCSS officials hope to add the middle and high schools to the foam tray recycling program in the future but have not yet developed a timeline for that implementation.