The Times West Virginian

October 26, 2012

Strong efforts with recycling are continuing in Marion County

Times West Virginian

— Efforts to promote recycling continue to be a priority in Marion County.

A new recycling location at the Wilson Ford car dealership opened in September and has been working out well, said Bobbi Benson, executive director of the Marion County Solid Waste Authority (MCSWA).

Three new large recycling bins are located in an area behind the dealership. They, along with a truck with a hook system to empty the bins, were purchased with a grant for $102,539.91 through the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) through the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The MCSWA now has the ability to empty the bins and transport the recycled items to the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority as needed. Overflowing bins sometimes created trash situations at the MCSWA’s previous White Hall site at the Middletown Mall. A construction project forced the recycling location to be moved from the mall, and Wilson Ford became the replacement site.

Wilson Ford also is the location of another bin provided and emptied by Allied Waste Services that takes cardboard. It had also been at the Middletown Mall. There has been a problem with the bin overflowing, and officials have been working to resolve the situation.

The other MCSWA recycling locations in the county are at 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 at the MCSWA’s office on U.S. 250 near the Barrackville turnoff. A few of the sites have become so popular that solid waste officials have been seeking solutions.

One has been to apply for grants to purchase additional bins and to monitor and empty the bins through the MCSWA instead of Allied Waste, using the new truck and hook system. The MCSWA received a $13,000 grant from the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board to purchase additional bins that will be placed at North Marion High School, hopefully in November, Benson said.

Longer-term planning is also under way that has the potential to make recycling in Marion County a more efficient and profitable endeavor.

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.

If the project is successful, the MCSWA would not have to go through the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority, which has been giving the MCSWA 25 percent of the proceeds from the recyclables from Marion County. That figure is supposed to go up to 40 percent.

MCSWA officials are in the process of putting out requests for proposals from 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 is going to take some time. The MCSWA can apply for a REAP grant every other year and therefore has to wait until 2013 to request another one, Benson noted.

There also has to be a decision made about handling glass. Recyclers have not been able to drop off glass at any of the MCSWA sites for more than three months because the glass was getting intermingled with the other recyclables. The MCSWA needs to purchase separate bins.

“We’d have to have bins at each site, and they are close to $4,000 apiece,” Benson said. “We thought about picking one of the sites, and not all of the sites would have it for glass. So far, we haven’t decided what we want to do.”

One possibility, once the recycling center is in operation, is to have all the glass handled there.

Recycling, though not a legal requirement in Marion County, is certainly an effort that should be taken seriously. We applaud all that is being done to make it as convenient as possible in the present and to continue improvement in the not-too-distant future.