Recycling center won’t reopen

The investigation into an overnight fire at Go Green Recycling in downtown Whiteville is ongoing.

A massive fire early Tuesday destroyed a downtown business that the owner says will not reopen.

Firefighters were called to Go Green Recycling, located on East Main, just after midnight Tuesday morning. A fire of undetermined origin started in the area of a compactor that pressed recycled paper and cardboard. A shed and most of the specialized equipment at the facility was destroyed.

“It may be just a sign from God that I’m old enough I need to slow down,” Edwin Russ said. The owner of Go Green said that between compacting equipment, balers and a tractor, losses could exceed $150,000.

“I thought insurance was too expensive last year,” he said.

“Looking at it today, I wouldn’t say the same thing.”
For roughly 15 years, Russ has shredded paper products, cardboard and plastic for resale. He said he had recently added a third part-time employee to keep up with the demand for document shredding.

“I don’t know why we have been doing so much of that lately,” he said. “That was a big part of the business, but it required a bond, so that was another expense.” Russ said he moved into recycling when the county quit offering shredding and recycling at the landfill.

“They weren’t making any money on it,” he said. “I got talked into trying it, first with cardboard, then paper and plastic and newsprint. Sometimes I’m out two days in a row, all day, just picking up containers to bring them back here for shredding.”
Russ expanded the business and types of materials as word spread and he found new markets for recyclables. Go Green only charged to pick up recyclables, since the shredded materials were sold to various firms.

“There’s so much out there that can be done,” he said. “Someone’s always coming up with a new way to use recycled materials, and it’s a good thing. Recycling helps all of us.”

Russ said he moved 536.78 tons of recyclable materials last year, with 64 tons of that total in office paper alone.