Solid waste board seeks grant

FOLLANSBEE – The Brooke County Solid Waste Authority has applied for a grant for its recycling program and hopes to hold a special collection of discarded electronic devices next spring.

Becky Harlan, recycling director, said the board hopes to hear in November of whether it has been awarded a $116,647 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection for the recycling program.

She noted the board may apply for up to $150,000 but because of competition from other recycling programs, isn’t likely to receive the full amount. Last year it was awarded about $81,000 through the agency.

In addition to day-to-day costs involved in operating the program – including fuel needed to transport the recyclable goods and electricity for the board’s recycling center in Beech Bottom – the board is seeking funds for a portable loading dock for the center and sturdy plastic lids that would replace heavy metal ones on two of the recycling bins that are difficult to lift, Harlan said.

Harlan noted the board may only seek the grant, which is through the state Solid Waste Management Board, in alternating years. For the other years, the board has depended on a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Protection Recycling Assistance Program.

A shortage of funds this summer led the Brooke County board to pull the bins where residents deposited recyclable plastic, metal and paper.

Harlan and Glenn Kocher, board chairman, said the board was between grants, having exhausted one and awaiting another needed to operate the recycling program.

Approval of the second grant and a boost in a portion of landfill tipping fees received by the board, which was attributed to the dumping of waste from natural gas drilling, led the board to return four of its five bins.

Kocher said response has been good since bins were returned to Hooverson Heights Primary School, Follansbee Middle School, Brooke High School, the Wellsburg Rite Aid and Bethany. The board didn’t return a bin that was located near Wellsburg Middle School but hasn’t received negative feedback from that, he said.

Kocher said the board budgets about $8,000 each year for the collection, transportation and sorting of recyclable materials and typically receives about $3,000 for the material from area businesses that recycle it.

When a board member commented that a decline in the market value for recycled plastic has hurt the board in the past, Harlan suggested the board should try monitoring values for recyclables in the future.

“I think we need to start watching the market and if we need to hold onto it for a while, we hold onto it,” she said, noting the recycling center can be used to store the material temporarily.

In other business, Harlan advised the board has received a $6,000 grant from the state DEP for the collection of discarded electronic devices.

A state law adopted in recent years prohibits televisions and computers with screens that measure more than 5 inches diagonally from being dumped at landfills. Concerns about hazardous materials in the devices led to the ban.

Harlan said the board hopes to hold a special collection of electronics in the spring, depending on whether the grant covers the cost to hire a recycling company to collect and dispose of them.

She noted electronic devices can be brought to the recycling center, which is on Mac Barnes Drive off state Route 2 south of Beech Bottom, from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays.

Harlan dispelled rumors the board accepts discarded tires, which she said are accepted through special collections held by the state DEP.

She said turnout for the board’s last electronics collection, held in April, was good. But she said participation in the hazardous household waste collection held June 22 was disappointing, with about 49 vehicles turning out.