Wilson County is fortunate to have Rockwood Sustainable Solutions in its backyard. Since building its site in Lebanon as Rockwood Recycling in 2016, Lincoln Young has helped Wilson County and its cities save money and reduce waste contribution to landfills with its wood and tire recycling and waste removal. Rockwood supplies wood fuel for one of the largest downdraft gasification plants in the United States in a clean energy partnership with City of Lebanon and Aires Clean Energy.
Rockwood started recycling Christmas trees in 2016 when Mayor Randall Hutto voiced the concern of county residents who were looking for a place to recycle their live Christmas trees after the holiday. The first year, 50 trees were recycled, and it continued to grow with 275 trees recycled in 2020. The trees are turned into mulch, a product available for retail and residential consumers. To take it one step further, Rockwood will also take the Christmas tree lights and send them to a non-profit who trains adults with autism to remove the bulbs and recycle the electronics.
In 2020, Rockwood recycled 29,900 tons of material. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of energy needed to power 13,304 homes or savings of 48,522 tons of CO2.
Lincoln Young recently found a way to keep plastics out of Wilson County landfills, save money, and support plastic recycling. In his own words, “I would tell you, pretty confidently, that Rockwood is not a plastic recycler…I know companies and have relationships with those that do plastic recycling on a massive scale.” Working with Cindy Lynch, head of the Wilson County Landfill, they developed a process to collect plastic bottles at the convenience centers, sort the plastics, and fill empty trucks with plastics for delivery to another county where they were already picking up wood waste in the area. This created an efficiency for Rockwood, a solution for Wilson County to keep plastics out of the landfill, and a benefit to county residents who want plastics to be recycled. “Cindy has been instrumental in helping with this plastic effort by training the residents and those at the convenience centers to help keep the trash bags out of the plastic bottle bins,” Lincoln says. “Garbage bags may help get the bottles to the trash can, but they must be removed before you throw the bottles in the dumpster.”
At Rockwood, Lincoln is always looking for long-term solutions to aid the county with their waste. They are having success with some large employers in Wilson County to recycle large amounts of wood, plastic, bulky furniture, etc. The company is a wood recycler at its core and makes high quality landscape materials like mulch and compost. More products will be added this year.
Wilson County has always been home and workplace to Lincoln Young. He works with the men and women he went with to school and church and says he loves “the fact that I am able to help our county and the great people in our county every day by providing sustainable options for our waste materials.”
For more information, please call the Wilson County Mayor’s Office at (615)444-1383 or visit www.wilsoncountytn.gov.