Recycling encouraged in Brooke

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Commission heard Tuesday from a resident with concerns about the county’s recycling program.

Regina Lindsey-Lynch wrote to the commission expressing concerns about the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority pulling bins at various locations where residents could deposit plastic, metal and paper.

She noted the board has encouraged residents to bring the materials to its recycling center in Beech Bottom but said that isn’t as convenient for many.

County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi said the board is waiting for the release of grants to support the program and has pulled the bins until it can afford to continue. But he said he plans to approach officials in local cities to see if there is a way they can help.

“It’s not an easy fix. Everybody’s starved for cash right now, including the county commission,” he said.

Lindsey-Lynch suggested a more central drop-off site would encourage more to recycle and asked why glass isn’t collected by the board.

Solid Waste Authority Chairman Glenn Kocher, who was called for comment, said he will be meeting with the state Solid Waste Management Board in a few weeks and hopes to know then whether the board has been awarded a grant for the program.

The solid waste authority has applied for two grants for the program – one for $20,000 from the state Solid Waste Management Board and another for $116,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection Recycling Assistance program.

It doesn’t expect to receive word of the latter grant until November.

Becky Harlan, recycling coordinator for the Brooke County board, noted the board doesn’t know how much of the amount requested will be awarded.

Kocher said the program also is supported by a portion of tipping fees paid from the Brooke County Landfill, but those have greatly diminished in recent years.

“If it weren’t for the grants, we’d have to close up shop,” he said.

Kocher said despite the inconvenience, the recycling center has received “quite a bit” of material since the bins were removed, and residents’ cooperation is appreciated.

The recycling center is off state Route 2 on Mac Barnes Drive, the same access road for the Brooke County Animal Shelter.

Kocher said residents who need help unloading material should come between 8 a.m. and noon, when staff is available to assist, but they may bring items at any time.

Kocher was asked if the board could establish a more central drop-off site, at least temporarily. Lindsey-Lynch had suggested establishing one at the Dollar General Market at the intersection of state Route 2 and Bruin Drive.

Kocher said, “I would love to have that, but I don’t have the money to transport it right now.”

He said the board also can’t afford to transport the material to the recycling businesses that accept the materials and is storing it until the program resumes.

The board currently takes paper to Valley Converting in Toronto, metal to All-American Recycling in Colliers, and plastics Nos. 1 or 2 to Greenstar Recycling of Pittsburgh.

Kocher said the transportation cost for the program is about $2,000 per month.

Kocher said sorting and transporting the glass has always been a challenge because of its fragile nature.

Kocher noted an Ohio business owing the board about $6,000 is in bankruptcy proceedings and the board has been named among creditors. But he said that occurred a few years ago and isn’t directly related to the board’s current funding issue.