CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many of Kanawha County's recyclable materials will be driven on test runs to a Beckley recycling center to determine if that could be a solution to the area's recycling crisis.
Officials gathered in the county commission chambers Thursday to discuss ways to deal with the Slack Street recycling center's closure. During the meeting, Charleston officials reiterated that they would still pick up recyclables set out along city curbs.
Charleston will set a garbage truck at the Slack Street center to deal with the municipally collected recyclables. The truck, which can haul about seven to eight tons of material, will then be taken to Beckley sometime next week, Charleston Public Works Director Gary Taylor said.
The garbage truck will haul plastic and aluminum collected from city curbsides. Paper that is collected from Charleston residents will be stored in a Solid Waste Authority container at the Slack Street center.
The Solid Waste Authority will haul the containers to Beckley the same day Charleston's garbage truck is sent, said Norm Steenstra, executive director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.
The containers and truck will only be hauling recyclables collected by Charleston refuse employees during regular pick up times through the week. Taylor said he hopes to send the trucks to the Raleigh County facility by Thursday.
"But if the truck fills up quick, then we'll have to send it to Beckley sooner," he said.
This will allow officials to determine the exact cost of hauling recyclables to the Beckley facility, Steenstra said.
Members of the general public will not be able to drop off items at the Slack Street center as of today, he said. But, Steenstra is hoping that the Solid Waste Authority can soon open a collection site at the old facility.
Steenstra said 8,000 to 9,000 cars come through the recycling center every month. The public dropoff accounts for about 12 to 15 percent of the agency's recycling tonnage, he said.
South Charleston is also going to haul the recyclables picked up during municipal collection to the Beckley recycling facility, Mayor Frank Mullens said. But South Charleston will be making the trip Wednesday, Mullens said.
Steenstra said the Beckley recycling center, which is operated by the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority, is a state-of-the-art facility that is underutilized.
Dunbar will be holding onto its recyclables to see if they can be loaded into a truck being taken to Beckley by one of the larger cities, Mayor Jack Yeager said.
Yeager said his city could help cover the cost of hauling the material to the Beckley facility when Dunbar loads recyclables on the trucks heading south.
But not all of the cities that offer curbside recycling will take their materials to Beckley.
St. Albans will be taking its recyclables to a for-profit facility in Nitro, Mayor Dick Callaway said. Belle, which has offered curbside recycling for about 30 years, will send paper recyclables to the for-profit facility in Nitro and the aluminum cans collected will be taken to the town's Lions Club, Mayor Buck Chestnut said.