Walton County Landfill Turns Trash Into Cash

By: Drew Steele Email
By: Drew Steele Email

It’s amazing what you can find in a trash dump. Just ask the workers at the Walton County Landfill. Each day they salvage all kinds of items residents throw away.

"What we do is we use our inmate labor crews to come out here and work and they assist through helping people get the stuff off of their vehicles for the dump. But they also go through and pull out recyclables and things that can be used and sold" said Walton County Public Information Manager Louis Svehla.

Some of the items are recycled.

"We have a lot of customers that bring in mixed loads of metal and we sort the metal, pull the recyclables out. We pull cardboard, we pull plastic and we pull metal from our class three cell" said Recycling Coordinator Mark Simmons.

Silver, copper, brass, wiring, plastics and lead are all considered valuable. The county started the program last January, salvaging five hundred tons of materials so far. But there's a lot more in these trucks than scrape metal. One of the items taken out of the landfill are clothes but instead of being recycled they're sent to SunCoast Textiles and Recycling to be cleaned and distributed to needy families around the world.

"We've sold approximately twenty tons of clothes so far. We've got probably a little over half a load of clothes we've pulled since the last dump" said Simmons.

The extra money goes back to Walton County, and the extra landfill space goes back to the environment.

"From an environmental standpoint, to be able to bring these things out of the ground and back into making some money. To salvaging and saving it or even being able to sell it later is certainly a benefit to what is important here in the county and certainly preservation is one of those things" said Svehla.

Workers are setting aside the items they can't immediately sell or recycle, for a yard sale county officials are planning later this spring.


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