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Recycle center now accepts Nos. 1-7 plastics

By Matt Murphy, Local government writer

West Virginia Recycling Services will now accept all numbered plastics at its Slack Street facility, the company’s owner told the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority board Tuesday.

West Virginia Recycling Services owner George Hunyadi said the public can deposit Nos. 1-7 plastics in any of the plastic bins at Slack Street.

Plastics can be identified by a marking of a number inside a recycling symbol. Previously, the center only accepted Nos. 1 and 2 plastics.

However, while expanding plastics recycling, the recycling operation will stop accepting electronics, or e-waste, beginning Aug. 1.

“What I’ve learned in the last 42 days is e-waste has really been a big problem for me,” Hunyadi said, adding, “It’s just become such a pain.”

Over the last several months, members of the public have been leaving junk at the recycling center, ranging from stripped televisions to vacuum cleaners, creating problems for the facility.

Some electronics dropped off are recyclable and salvageable, but Hunyadi said those items have been increasingly rare. He said people have even been taking televisions from the property, stripping valuable metals and then returning the items back to the facility during off hours.

When stripped items are sent to electronics recycling facilities, Hunyadi said buyers have complained about the lack of valuable materials contained in the shipment.

The other issue is the sheer number of items. Hunyadi said he refused a man who wanted to dump a U-Haul full of televisions at the recycling facility. The man said he didn’t want to pay the fee at the landfill and threatened to dump the televisions in the forest instead.

Sandy Rogers, the coordinator of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s REAP Program who also was at Tuesday’s meeting, said she has seen problems created by the public firsthand.

“You’re inundated with junk,” she told Hunyadi. “Basically, it’s taking a lot of room at your facility . . . it’s causing hazards.”

Hunyadi said he thought about introducing a “pay-per-inch” system like recycling facilities in other states, which charges the public a fee based on the size of the screen. However, Hunyadi said he didn’t think such a system would work in Charleston.

“I don’t see me as being able to manage it,” he said. “It’s easier to just say no.”

The Charleston landfill, which is operated by Waste Management, accepts electronics, but charges for their disposal.

The semi-annual Kanawha County cleanups also accept electronic waste free of charge.

In other business, the authority:

Tabled a decision on funding asphalt and concrete paving improvements to the public area of the Slack Street facility after bids for the project all came in more than $90,000.

The project will require the use of special materials that can withstand heavy truck traffic, thereby inflating the cost, board Chairman Rod Watkins said.

The location of a Norfolk Southern railroad track on the property is another reason for the high cost, he said.

Heard from Greg Sayre, a lobbyist for private recyclers in West Virginia and a former authority board member, who said he had concerns about a large fire earlier this month at Greenleaf Recycling in Marietta, Ohio, which is where West Virginia Recycling Services used to take some of its materials.

Sayre said he was concerned about a similar buildup of material at Slack Street.

Hunyadi said he hasn’t taken material to Greenleaf for a few months.

Heard from Rogers, who wanted an update on repairs to a baler damaged by vandals that is still owned by the DEP until liens on the equipment are paid off.

Hunyadi said he has received an insurance check for the equipment, but didn’t specify if the entire amount went to repairs for the baler. He said he still owes $4,000 to $5,000 of the $14,000 repair job and said it is scheduled to be operational next week.

Elected new officers for the next fiscal year. Kasey Russell will be chairwoman and Watkins will be vice-chair.


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