Edgar Mason thinks people should take a better look at the Earth and what they put into the ground.

Mason has been working to raise awareness about that very fact as a volunteer with the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority. He has been a part of the organization for 16 years and was recognized for his efforts during a recent Berkeley County Commission meeting. Mason received a certificate honoring him as a West Virginia Recycling Champion in Berkeley County.

Mason joins others from counties across the state who received the award, including winners from Lincoln, Nicholas, Taylor and Upshur counties as well as Follansbee Middle School in Brooke County. Mason was presented the award by Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority.

Hogbin shared some of Mason’s accomplishments with county commissioners, including Mason’s work to establish the South Berkeley Recycling Center in Inwood. Hogbin also noted Mason’s work with the plastic bottle recycling program in Berkeley County, which has recycled more than 325,000 pounds of plastic bottles in the last eight years.

“(Mason) is proof that one person can make a difference,” Hogbin said.

County commissioners also commended Mason for his efforts. Commissioner Steve Teufel told Mason that when he makes his monthly drive to the recycling center he notices the dramatic growth within the facility.

“Your persistence has paid off,” Teufel told Mason.

Other county commissioners said “persistent” was an accurate term to describe Mason.

“I grew up with Edgar and he is like a bulldog getting ahold of something,” said Commissioner Ron Collins.

Commissioner Bill Stubblefield told Mason that everyone in Berkeley County benefits from his persistence.

Mason said his recycling efforts go all the way back to 1993 when he requested a hearing with the county commissioners at that time to request a curbside recycling program in Berkeley County. Those county commissioners turned down his request because of the projected cost, Mason said.

“It would have cost around $300,000,” he said, adding that he continued to work on the program for two years and has seen it expand into a great program for Berkeley County residents.

In addition to the previously mentioned programs, Mason has also worked to establish a plastic bag recycling program to recycle high- and low-density polyethylene plastic bags. Mason also played a large role in the creation of the first yard waste recycling collection site, which expanded from the South Berkeley Recycling Center to the Grapevine Road Recycling Center in Martinsburg.

Mason said recycling affects a vast area in Berkeley County, especially as it pertains to the county’s drinking water. Mason attributes his success to hard work and support from a number of sources, including the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority.

“I didn’t expect any awards, but when I commit to something I do everything I can,” Mason said.

Mason lives with his wife, Linda, in Inwood.

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