City residents tend to have more options when it comes to recycling, but people who live in rural areas don't often have the convenience, at least without a high cost. In Roane County, however, one curbside program is becoming more popular, and helping more than the environment.
The Michael Dunn Center helps employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The non-profit organization started the curbside program after leaders realized the opportunity to provide a new service to residents in Roane County.
"We knew there was a need in our community for people that wanted curbside recycling but the more people learn about it, the more that need grows," said Wade Creswell, Vice President of Development. "Our goal with all of our work programs is to find jobs for people with developmental disabilities. So as our curbside recycling effort grows, we're able to provide more jobs for people with disabilities."
Creswell said nearly 150 homes and business participate in the program. Workers unload the blue bins at each location and haul the products back to the site, where the recyclables are sorted.
"We're able to sell some of those recyclables for profit. We take all of that revenue and put it back in the business and try to find more jobs for people with disabilities," explained Creswell.
The program costs $10 every four weeks, a price some business owners called a good deal.
"It's so economical. I couldn't pack everything up and put it in a truck and haul it off to the recycling center, take time from work, for what they're charging for their service," said Lisa Stooksbury, with Foust Family Fitness in Kingston. "Every time they show up, it's like they're doing me a favor. And I want to say, Thanks!! We appreciate it."
Stooksbury said she noticed she was throwing away water bottles, cardboard, paper, and magazines on a regular basis, so she was quick to sign up for curbside recycling.
"Every time they show up, it's like they're doing me a favor. And I want to say, Thanks!! We appreciate it,"
said Stooksbury. "We feel great, the proceeds are going to Michael Dunn, and they do such great work."
"Most of the jobs that we provide them have some sort of impact on the world around them," said Creswell.
The Michael Dunn Center is located at 629 Gallaher Road in Kingston. For more information on the curbside recycle program, call 865-376-1337 extension 230.