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Local recycling gets makeover, adds programs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new awareness and education campaign aims to show residents the "why," "what" and "where" of local recycling.

The campaign debuts this weekend at the Charleston Boulevard Rod Run & Doo Wop, and is the product of months of work by the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority and Charleston design firm Auge Gray Collective Works.

In a nutshell, the campaign and rebranding of the authority are meant to give uniformity to recycling efforts across the county, and make the authority a "one-stop-shop" for residents to learn about why they should recycle, what can be recycled and where recycling is available.

"I think for a long time, recycling education was neglected," said Solid Waste Authority Director James Young. "The resources weren't there."

At the Rod Run & Doo Wop, recycling bins provided by the authority are located throughout the event area and feature the authority's new logo. The authority will also have a table set up to hand out informational brochures, magnets and stickers.

"Our brand was just outdated," Young said. "We've been mistaken for the county commission and the city of Charleston."

One of the most visual changes county residents will start to see is the authority's bright, new logo, which contrasts with the older logo - a traditional recycling symbol overlaid on an outline of Kanawha County.

Each type of recyclable material is now represented by a single color. An outline of the material - an aluminum can, for example - is overlaid on the color the material represents to create its own symbol.

The idea is that people will be able to more quickly identify where a given material can be recycled.

For example, visitors to the Rod Run & Doo Wop this weekend will be able to recycle No. 1 plastic bottles and aluminum cans in bins provided by the authority. Those bins will carry symbols representing the items accepted by the bins - a teal color for plastics and a lighter blue for aluminum.

"Everything has a consistent theme and look," Young said. "It'll give people a resource they never have had."

In the coming weeks, a new website will replace the authority's current site. The domain name, www.kanawharecycles.org, will remain the same. Visitors to the website will be able to search for recycling locations by the product they want to recycle, using the same colors as presented on the recycling bins.

"I really don't think there's another site in the state that'll match its functionality," Young said.

There will be other methods of educating the public in the future, as well.

Young said one idea is to conduct a direct mail campaign. The mailers could be targeted geographically, meaning residents could have a postcard featuring information unique to their area.

The campaign is the latest action the authority has taken in its new role as an educator and information source for recycling.

In 2012, the authority gave up operating the Slack Street recycling facility, ceding that its operation to West Virginia Recycling Services, a private company. The authority was losing about $30,000 each month after it closed the Slack Street center over safety concerns and began transporting recyclables to Beckley.

After privatizing the operation on Slack Street, the authority transitioned into its current role. The authority receives a portion of the profits made by West Virginia Recycling Services, which reopened the Slack Street center.

Then in March, the authority selected Young as its new executive director. He replaced Norm Steenstra, who resigned in September 2012.

In recent months, the authority has kept its budget in the black and started other initiatives to increase recycling in the county. In August, the authority launched the "Lend-a-Bin" program, in which members of the public can borrow reusable bins for recycling at events for free.

The bins were paid for through a grant.

Young said the authority is always looking for ways it can increase recycling participation and act as a resource for county residents.

"We really want to be out in the community more," he said. "We want to be available."

The rebranding effort cost the authority about $24,000. Part of the funding for educational materials, including brochures and printed materials, comes from a $14,800 grant the authority received in July. The grant can also pay for future educational materials.

Young said the campaign is well worth the expense and time. He said it would allow the authority to provide much better service and resources.

"It's a fresh start," he said.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.

 


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