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Retailer still accepts glass for recycling

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Target retail store at Trace Fork is becoming a destination for people wishing to recycle items, especially glass.

Every one of the company's 1,772 stores around the country offers recycling services. The company has six stores in West Virginia. 

At the Trace Fork location, recycling bins are set up inside the door to the left of the main entrance near the customer service center, store manager Janna Petry said.

Target is one of the few locations in the area that accepts glass for recycling, said Norm Steenstra, former executive director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.

Steenstra could name a few other locations that accept glass, but none were in the county. The Jackson County Solid Waste Authority in Ripley accepts glass, as does the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority, he said.

"There may be some other places that take glass, but I can't think of them," said Steenstra, a longtime supporter of recycling.

The Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority recycling center on Slack Street formerly took glass bottles. However, the building was forced to close last March when combustible dust and structural issues were found.

A machine inside the building had been used to pulverize glass for use as mulch or decorative ground covering, Steenstra said.  

With the building closed, the center was forced to cease accepting glass at the public drop-off area next to the building.

Steenstra was surprised to hear a retail company would accept glass for recycling. Glass is an expensive commodity to recycle, he said.

"It costs a lot of money to haul glass because it's heavy," he said.

Target does not offer the recycling program to profit, company spokeswoman Jessica Stevens said.

Instead, it is to "minimize Target's impact on the environment and reduce emissions," she said.

"In some cases, Target benefits from selling (recyclable) materials to vendors, but in other cases, recycling these materials will be an expense for Target," Stevens said in a written release.

The company hauls the recyclables back to its distribution centers using trucks that have made deliveries to the store, Stevens said. This helps reduce emissions and cut down on the cost of transportation of the materials, she said.

Petry has not noticed an increase in the number of people taking recyclables to the store since the Slack Street center closed. Neither she nor Stevens was able to say how much recycled materials are transported from the Trace Fork store.

Most people who drop off recyclables at the store bring plastic bags and aluminum cans, Petry said.

"It's really nice to be able to give back to the community and help the environment," she said.

In 2010, Target recycled about 170 million plastic shopping bags and about 1.4 million pounds of bottles and aluminum cans, according to the release.

The 170 million shopping bags would add up to about 4 million pounds of plastic, according to the release.

Target unveiled the recycling kiosks inside its stores in 2010. Along with glass and plastic bags, the store also accepts plastic bottles, MP3 players, ink cartridges and cellphones at the kiosks.

"The program has kept thousands of tons of recycled materials from landfills," the release states.

Contact writer Paul Fallon at or 304-348-4817. Follow him at



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