The Times West Virginian

April 4, 2013

Building more local control would be boost for recycling

Times West Virginian

— While recycling is not a legal requirement in Marion County, there has been a strong effort to make it an ongoing part of our everyday lives.

The Marion County Solid Waste Authority (MCSWA), for example, has recycling locations across the county — behind Wilson Ford, North Marion High School (assisted by the NMHS Going Green Club), the Family Dollar in Fairview, across from Alasky’s warehouse in Idamay, the Pleasant Valley Municipal Building parking lot in Kingmont, Novelis parking lot on Speedway in Fairmont, the Paw Paw Fairgrounds in Rivesville, the Worthington Volunteer Fire Department and the MCSWA’s office on U.S. 250 near the Barrackville turnoff.

Three new large recycling bins and a truck with a hook system to empty the bins were purchased last year with a grant for $102,539.91 from the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) through the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The sites have been popular.

Unfortunately, there was a temporary glitch in the program last month — because of a problem in neighboring Monongalia County.

Residents were asked to temporarily stop bringing their recyclables to the MCSWA locations. Bobbi Benson, executive director of MCSWA, said the authority takes its recyclables to the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority to have it processed, but Monongalia County’s baler broke.

“They usually process it and market it for us and give us a percentage of the profit,” she said.

Fortunately, there is planning under way that has the potential to make recycling in Marion County a more efficient and profitable endeavor and cut the dependance on the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority.

The MCSWA has purchased property and a building known as the old bucket factory in Idamay, which is adjacent to the Marion County Landfill. The plan is to turn the building into a sorting center where recycled items can be taken and processed, allowing the MCSWA to deal directly with those who want to buy recycled materials. The property was purchased for $175,000, which the MCSWA earned by selling gas and oil rights around the landfill to a gas company.

MCSWA officials are hopeful of finding companies that would do the necessary work to prepare the plant either in exchange for the construction materials that are in the building or for that plus a low price.

Because of the need for funding, this project won’t happen overnight. The MCSWA can apply for a REAP grant every other year and therefore has to wait until this year to request another one, Benson noted last fall.

Other efforts are also under way to improve recycling in the county.

When Fairmont renewed its contract with Republic Services, for example, it included a provision to expand the recycling program.

“We wanted to place a greater emphasis on recycling,” City Manager Jay Rogers said.

With the new system, the current blue tub would be replaced with a green 65-gallon cart residents can fill with all their recyclable goods — plastic containers (plastics Nos. 1-7), aluminum cans, glass bottles of all colors, “junk mail,” phone books, corrugated cardboard, paperback books, newspapers and more.

Rogers said he’s also looking forward to working out a way to make recycling accessible in city parks and for downtown Fairmont.

Students and faculty from Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, meanwhile, are involved in the club STAND (Students Taking Action in Nature’s Defense). STAND does everything from putting recycling bins throughout the campus to trash cleanups along the streets of Fairmont.

We appreciate all that is being done to make recycling as convenient as possible and trust work will continue to allow Marion County to have more direct control of its efforts. Recycling must be a habit and we don’t need to take breaks — even if they are temporary.