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Cabell recycling program expands

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 11:10 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Cabell County's recycling program is expanding the types of material it will accept at eight drop-off locations.

The Cabell County Solid Waste Authority, meanwhile, is considering transforming the program into curbside recycling, its director says.

The Solid Waste Authority's contract with private hauler Rumpke Recycling, which runs through Jan. 31, 2014, now includes glass among the material that will be accepted in 29 mixed-stream containers spread across the county. Rumpke has hauled away paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and cartons, steel, tin and aluminum since the program began in October 2011.

Accepting glass and adding more containers to meet growing demand were among the reasons why the cost of the Solid Waste Authority's contract with Rumpke has increased 15 percent this year over last year, says Stephen Zoeller, chairman of the agency's board of directors. The program's annual budget is now approximately $65,000, more than triple the amount of money that was needed 18 months ago to get it off the ground.

Since then, the Solid Waste Authority has added 14 containers in the county, bringing the total to 30, and doubled Director Ralph Taylor's salary from $12,000 to $24,000. Taylor visits the eight drop-off locations two times a week to make sure the areas around the containers are clean. That is essential to maintaining partnerships with the businesses that have agreed to let the Solid Waste Authority place containers on their property, Zoeller said.

While Taylor is optimistic the Solid Waste Authority will have enough money through state grants and local government contributions to pay for the program for the remainder of this year, the agency is now at a tipping point where it must consider curbside recycling, he said.

"It's the next logical step, and it's about looking at what will get you the most bang for your buck," Taylor said. "The whole thing that makes recycling successful is making it readily available. We've gone from no recycling to making recycling an option within a five- to 10-mile drive for everyone in the county. Now we need to look at offering it curbside."

The Solid Waste Authority is letting a Marshall University Integrated Science and Technology class, which focuses on solving environmental problems, evaluate the benefits and costs of drop-off and curbside recycling programs. The semester-long project will be summarized in a report issued to the agency in the next few weeks, Zoeller said. The class also has been asked to develop a marketing campaign for curbside recycling. The Solid Waste Authority has a $10,000 state grant that can only be used for a public awareness campaign about its recycling initiatives, Zoeller said.

"We received a preliminary report from the class last week, and it appears curbside recycling may not only be cheaper, but the amount of material you could move puts our drop-off program to shame," Zoeller said. "At some point, we have to ask ourselves if we want to continue putting money into a program that, while it is very popular, is not very efficient and could apparently be done better."

The Solid Waste Authority also is focusing on securing increased financial support from the municipalities of Huntington, Barboursville and Milton. The Cabell County Commission gave the agency $20,000 for this year. The Solid Waste Authority has asked for $5,000 from Milton ($1,000 last year), $10,000 from Barboursville ($5,000 last year) and $20,000 from Huntington. Huntington did not contribute last year but gave the Solid Waste Authority $5,000 as seed money in 2011.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said a contribution for recycling is not in next year's city budget, but he is considering the request.

"I do know City Council members are interested in this as well." he said. "It appears to me $20,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the long-term benefit we receive."

Williams said he wants his administration eventually to develop its own citywide curbside recycling program. The venture is in the exploratory stages now, he said.

"In my travels, I've realized that every progressive city has advanced recycling efforts throughout the community," Williams said. "In that regard, I don't think we can encourage families or businesses to do it in the city if we're not doing it ourselves."

Zoeller said if the Solid Waste Authority pursued curbside recycling, it would most likely have to be contracted through a private hauler. He also noted he would not have any objections to Huntington becoming a partner in a countywide program or spearheading a citywide program of its own.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

Cabell County drop-off recycling program

WHERE ARE THE RECYCLING BINS LOCATED? Parking lot at Kroger, 19 West 7th Ave.; Big Sandy Superstore Arena (located in parking lot across 7th Street from arena); Cabell-Huntington Health Department (behind Mac-Reedo's), 703 7th Ave.; parking lot at Kroger, 2627 5th Avenue; parking lot at intersection of W.Va. 2 and Big Seven Mile Road in Lesage; Adams Trucking, 3700 U.S. 60 East, Barboursville; Perry Morris Square on U.S. 60, Milton.

DO MATERIALS HAVE TO BE SORTED? No. The program is mixed-stream, meaning users can commingle their recyclables.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE ACCEPTED? Glass; paper products such as newspapers, magazines, phone books, paperboard, cardboard, office paper, folders and junk mail; plastic bottles (no caps); cartons such as milk or orange juice; juice boxes; steel, tin and aluminum cans.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE NOT ACCEPTED? Plastics that are not bottles or jugs, plastic bags, medical syringes, Styrofoam, coat hangers, scrap metal.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE RECYCLABLES? Rumpke Recycling empties the recycling bins twice a week at each location. The materials are transported to the company's new $10.5 million recycling plant in Columbus, Ohio, where recyclables are sorted using optical-scan machines.