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Rotary hears about recycling problems

October 17, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Some people who want to get rid of their trash have been using the Crossroads Recycling Center near Buckhannon Wal-Mart as their dumping site, and not with the intention to recycle, officials said.

Once a recycling bin is contaminated, the entire bin is no longer recyclable, officials told the Buckhannon Rotary Club Tuesday.

"Once newspapers become contaminated with garbage, you can't sort those anymore," Jerry Arnold, waste department supervisor, told the Rotarians, adding that a typical newspaper bin holds up to 1,500 pounds. "So at one time, you've contaminated 1,500 pounds of material."

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
During his presentation about Upshur County recycling, Burl Smith, director of the county Solid Waste Authority, recognized some Buckhannon Rotarians and guests for their hand in dealing with solid waste issues, litter control, and recycling in Upshur County. From left, Mayor Kenneth Davidson, Jerry Arnold, Burl Smith, Rich Clemens, Bud Cutright, Michael Doss, Callie Sams, Jay Hollen, Joyce Harris-Thacker and Jeff Wamsley all stand to be recognized.

Arnold said deterrence through the use of new signs and the addition of surveillance cameras is an option being considered.

"That's the largest problem we're having at the Crossroads now," Arnold said.

However, dumping trash into the recycling bins is not the only way to contaminate recyclable goods, officials said. Citizens may be contaminating the recyclables in other ways without knowing it.

Jay Hollen said the numeric value associated with recyclable plastics is indicated by a number on the bottom of the container. Hollen said plastics are numbered from one to six, but the Crossroads Recycling Center can only accept numbers one and two.

"If you would include those (other numbered plastics) in with the recycling out at Crossroads or Mudlick, it's contamination," said Burl Smith, director of the Upshur County Solid Waste Authority, who was also the primary program speaker for the Rotary meeting. "If you have a roach in your drink, that's contamination. That's the same thing if you put a number seven plastic in with our 'ones' and 'twos.'"

The Crossroads Recycling Center accepts newspapers and magazines, office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, number one plastic, and number two clear and colored plastic. The recycling center opened in August 2002 and is maintained by the city of Buckhannon. Drop-offs can be made at all hours, seven days a week.

"The contamination issue is just killing us," Arnold said. "It is better not to recycle than it is to contaminate."

Smith said that he's been asked why some items are not recycled in the county.

"We have to consider collecting it, processing it, storing it, and then marketing it," Smith said. "It's great if you can get all these materials recycled, but if you can't sell them or get enough money out of them to pay the haul bill, it doesn't make sense to recycle them."

Another problem at the recycling center is that some recyclables are placed on the ground against the bins instead of inside them.

"With the wind storms we have, we're getting a lot of litter," Arnold said, adding that the issues with the recycling center have been ongoing for quite some time and have worsened in the last year.



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