They call him “Mr. Recycling.”
Lew Woodham, a resident of Carol Woods Retirement Community on Weaver Dairy Road, has been heading the community’s recycling program for the past 10 years.
And considering the community’s standing as the county’s best recycler — an estimated 60 percent of its waste is recycled, composted or repurposed — Woodham has a lot to be proud of.
“It feels very good to be so successful,” Woodham said. “It’s kind of like being the best of the best, because the county is one of the best recyclers in the state.”
But a recent proposal to privatize the county’s recycling services could threaten Carol Woods’ success.
The Carol Woods recycling program has a mutually beneficial relationship with the county. The county provides information and support to Carol Woods while using the community’s enthusiasm for recycling as an example for similar complexes, said Orange County Solid Waste Management Director Gayle Wilson.
Wilson said if the county moves forward with the proposal, the relationship with Carol Woods could unravel.
“As an entity, they are the most impassioned recyclers in the county,” Wilson said. “If privatization went through a company would probably replace us, and who knows if they would build the same relationship we have with Carol Woods.”
The 120-acre community is home to more than 450 residents who recycle everything from food scraps to eyeglasses.