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1988 original crew. Click on this image for more photos.



Orange Grove Center was established in 1953 by a grass roots parents group and concerned community leaders who were dedicated to offering educational programs to developmentally disabled children. As these children grew to adulthood and new youngsters took their places, the programs offered by the Center expanded to include various opportunities in vocational training. This allowed these adults to lead independent lives and reach their maximum vocational potential.

In keeping with this goal, a community recycling program seemed to afford strong training possibilities. The Center entered the recycling market in 1988 with a staff of five developmentally disabled adults and one supervisor. The success of this new vocational training opportunity led Center administrators to explore expansion of the program.

In 1994 the Recycling Center entered into a contract with the City of Chattanooga to receive recyclables being picked up in Chattanooga's burgeoning blue bag curbside recycling program. This called for expansion of the physical processing plant as well as a larger work force. The John F. Germ Recycling Center at Orange Grove, named in honor of a long time OGC supporter and board member, presently employs over 100 developmentally disabled citizens and several academically at risk high school students, equipping these folks with the skills they will need to seek employment in the community at large.

The Recycling Center is now considered a regional Materials Recovery Facility, accepting recyclables from local municipalities' curbside programs, area drop off centers, businesses and schools in the tri-state area. The Recycling Center processes over 1.5 million pounds of product each month thereby diverting this material from local landfills.

  • Orange Grove Center's mission statement: To recognize, support, and celebrate the qualities of the individuals.

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