Paper trail leads to Aiken's latest recycling drive

Bill Hayes waited around The Home Depot parking lot for a few minutes after taking a load of paper to be shredded.


"My wife told me not to come home until everything was shredded," said Mr. Hayes, who had brought sensitive documents such as bank statements and old tax returns to Aiken's recycling day on Jan. 3.

He had more items than his personal shredder could handle, he said. After he was sure his items had been turned into tiny pieces, he left.

Although the city has offered an electronics recycling event for three years, paper shredding had not been part of the package until this year, according to Tim Coakley, the assistant director of public works for the city of Aiken.

"This is the first year with Augusta Data Storage. They are doing this totally free, and they've had a lot of business," he said.

The event began at 9 a.m., and by 10 a.m. the first Augusta Data Storage truck was full of paper workers had shredded, Mr. Coakley said.

People were waiting in line before 9 a.m., he said.

In addition to paper, people brought electronic items, including big-screen televisions, computers, monitors and cell phones, for recycling.

"There is a need for proper disposal of their electronic stuff," Mr. Coakley said. "One TV monitor has five pounds of lead. We want to keep that out of the landfill."

Cell phones can be passed on to agencies or given to people to use for emergency 911 calls.

City employees helped cart computer monitors, hard drives and other electronic waste from people's cars to waiting trucks.

Joseph Martin, a South Aiken High School student, was a volunteer at the event.

"I wanted to help. I like recycling," he said.

Mr. Coakley said the city has two electronic recycling events each year. One is usually at the beginning of the year and the other is in the late summer or fall.

Reach Charmain Brackett at