In this little post, I hope to help familiarize newcomers to our trash customs. Some people, when new to our community, are puzzled by the way we do trash. I sure was. Long accustomed to rolling a trash can to the curb once a week, I was surprised to learn that this practice was only available for residents within town limits. These folks get weekly trash pickup. Roll the can to the street the night before and the trash fairies do the rest. Nice and easy if you’re in one of the town limits. The rest of us must do a little more work. 

Watauga County folks who are outside of town borders can either hire a private company or take their trash and recycling to one of the 10 convenience centers located throughout the county. The main convenience center is in Boone at 336 Landfill Road with smaller centers located in Green Valley, 421 West, 321-Aho, Deep Gap, Foscoe, Valle Crucis, 221 South, Triplett, and Bethel. The main convenience center is open every day and the smaller convenience centers are open four days a week. Click here to see the days and times each center is open. 

Convenience centers accept bagged household garbage and recyclables. Drive in, drop your bags of garbage in the dumpster and put your recyclables in the appropriate container. Accepted recyclables are glass, aluminum and tin cans, plastics, cardboard, paper, household batteries, and compact fluorescent lights. 

Trash not listed above belongs at the transfer station which is across from the main convenience center. When you enter and exit the transfer station, your vehicle will be weighed to determine the weight of your trash. Lucky for us, each household can dispose of up to 2,000 pounds of transfer station waste annually at no cost. However, to capitalize on this bargain, you can only bring items on Saturday, otherwise you’ll pay $59 per ton. Items for the transfer station might include tires, car batteries, used oil filters, electronics, and scrap metal items such as appliances and lawn mowers. 

Watauga County also has a hazardous waste program (also located at 336 Landfill Road) where residents can dispose of household cleaners, paint, varnishes, stains, paint thinner, solvents, pesticides, automotive liquids, mercury items, light bulbs, batteries, etc., free of charge on allocated days. Hazardous wastes days for 2022 are: 

Saturday, April 9th 8:30am-3:30pm
Thursday, June 9th 8:30am-3:30pm
Saturday, August 13th 8:30am-3:30pm
Thursday, October 13th 8:30am-3:30pm

You can find out more about the county’s hazardous waste disposal program here

Yard waste, brush, and clean wood is accepted at the transfer station where it is made into mulch and made available to residents free of charge. 

To write this little post, my curiosity was piqued several times. If you’re like me, you may find the following things fun to know:

  • From 1970-1994 Watauga County had its own landfill. At its closure in 1994, it was capped with an artificial membrane. Using two modified automotive generators, methane gas is pumped out of the capped landfill yielding enough electricity to power 60 homes. Who knew?
  • The county bales and sales its recyclables. I didn’t find recent figures, but in 2011, our recyclables sold for over $490,000. I am impressed.
  • A transfer station is so called because waste is dropped there and then transferred to another site for further processing and disposal. This is obvious once you think about it, but I had never thought about it.
  • Scrap metal items, like washing machines, dishwashers, and lawn mowers, are called “white goods” in the sanitation industry. For some reason, that makes me smile.

If you’re new to recycling, this webpage has some visual helps you could print off to help you recycle well. It also has a cheat sheet to tell you if your items should go to the convenience center or the transfer station. It contains general guidelines that I would have benefitted from when I first started recycling. Maybe someone will find it useful.