On Dec. 31, the recycling location at the Westgate Shopping Center saw its final day.
The Westgate center was operated by GDS Asheville, the company contracted to handle the city’s solid waste, through a joint contract with the city and Buncombe County. However, the property owners refused to extend the center’s lease, and on Dec. 31, it closed.
Four other recycling locations exist in Buncombe, including the county landfill and transfer station as well as two Curbside Management-run locations, one on Merrimon Avenue and another on North Woodfin Street.
“We’re encouraging residents to one of those alternate locations,” the city’s Solid Waste Manager Wendy Simmons says, adding that a survey conducted by the city found that more county than city residents used the Westgate location. “We’re assuming that the volume from the center will go to other centers.”
Nonetheless, “the more recycling options the better,” Simmons says. “We have a resident base here that’s very motivated to recycle. I think they’re going to find a way to recycle, but the more locations, the better.”
“As usual the recycling center behind WestGate shopping center was a beehive of activity this morning,” Jeff Tallman, a regular user of the center who works for Xpress in distribution, observed on its last day. “In some cases, such as the cardboard and newspaper units, the bins had been serviced but surrounding piles of material left to soak in the mud. I don’t blame the owners of this property for letting the agreement expire—no one in their right mind would want this mess in their back yard. If they would have at least assigned a person to pick up around the bins for a few minutes a day, this situation could have been a lot more presentable.”
— David Forbes, senior news reporter
Photos by Jeff Tallman