Landfill free day Saturday

Muddy tire tracks cover a tattered stuffed animal lying in the Shelby County landfill.

What used to be a child’s toy now makes up the hundreds of tons of garbage dumped into the landfill each day.

Shelby County Environmental Manager Robert Kelley said Shelby County is currently on track to have room for several more decades of trash disposed at the current dump.

“We’ll probably be able to go until somewhere around 2030,” he said.

Kelley said he’d like to see more people in the county recycle. The county currently sees 800 tons of garbage a day.

This translates to about 208,000 tons a year.

“Every little bit helps,” Kelley said. “The problem is a lot of people don’t want to pay the additional fee for the curbside recycling.”

That fee usually amounts to around $5 each month.

“It’s a part of our life,” Kelley said. “Everything you throw away has to go somewhere.”

That includes a few unusual items.

“You do see some stuff,” said technician Rodney Roberts, whose worked at the landfill for two years. “We just buried a horse out here the other day.”

Fellow technician Wayne Vansant agreed that people dump everything from A to Z.

A to Z includes windowpanes, dead animals, old clothing and spoiled food.

“You get used to the smell,” Kelley said. “If we get a big load of spoiled meat — then it gets smelling really bad, but it smells like money to us.”

The Shelby County landfill will sponsor a free day for private vehicles on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The regular cost for a private car to enter with waste is $5; pick-ups are $8.

Kelley cautions residents to remember they cannot bring hazardous waste, batteries, oil or liquid paint into the landfill. Anyone who does so can be fined.

Kelley said 800-900 vehicles typically travel through the landfill on free days. The landfill hosts two a year.