STEPS handles town’s recycling

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Q: I have a question about Farmville’s recycling program … I’m concerned about what happens to the bags after pick-up. Who is separating these items? I’m afraid the truck just heads to the dump! Can you trace the process for us so we can feel good about our efforts to help the landfill and the environment?


Gerald Spates

Gerald Spates

For more than 20 years, the Town of Farmville has offered its voluntary recycling program to residents — one that now includes the services of STEPS Inc.

According to town spokeswoman Kate Eggleston, recyclables are collected twice a month in Farmville.

“Our partnership with STEPS is a great opportunity for us to work with a local non-profit that helps so many people in our community on a daily basis,” said Town Manager Gerald Spates. “It’s not only a partnership that we are proud of, but also one that has worked well throughout the years and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”

“The Town of Farmville’s trash trucks bring (the recyclables) to us — we call it ‘curbside’ — and basically I have a crew of five guys over there and once they dump it and we have a section sectioned off for the curbside and then we have a place for 

cardboard,” said STEPS Recycling Manger/Green Services Team Leader David Gibson.

The recyclables from the curb are “picked up … they weigh (them), run them across the scale, dump it off, weigh (them) on the way back out,” Gibson said of the process. “My guys go through and literally sort through all the bags. They separate the different types of plastics, like the clear milk jugs and your drink bottles and all the different sorts of plastics.”

For the town, STEPS recycles plastics, aluminum and “loose news,” or old newspapers.

“We call a … plastics recycler and they come pick them up for us. They start their recycling process,” Gibson said.

“Some people are really good about separating it out. Some people just throw everything in a bag,” he said.

According to Eggleston, the recycling schedule can be found on the town’s website,

“Recyclables should be separated by residents into two separate 13-gallon clear or white trash bags with drawstrings; one bag for paper products, including newspapers, copy paper and computer paper and one bag for plastic bottles (Nos. 1-10), glass and aluminum cans. Cardboard collection is separate and must be called in to the Department of Public Works (at) (434) 392-3331 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday for pick-up on Wednesday. The town collects the recyclables and then delivers them to STEPS Inc. where they are further sorted and processed,” she said.

“No, it’s not being taken straight to the dump,” Gibson said. “What’s in our dumpster, after we sort through it, is just the trash. And they take that to the dump when they swap it out.”

“The Department of Public Works strives to provide efficient and effective services for the town residents and recycling is one of the many services that we provide,” said Public Works Director Robin Atkins.