SWA working on recycling convenience, receiving plastics baler

FOX TWP. – Following a tour of the Veolia ES Greentree Landfill on Tuesday afternoon, the Elk County Solid Waste Authority held its regular meeting.Elk County Recycling/Solid Waste Coordinator Bekki Titchner said the final medicine collection event of the year will be held this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, from 8 a.m. to noon in the education center at Elk Regional Health Center in St. Marys. "We typically get a couple hundred pounds," Titchner said of the event. "I expect we'll get at least that this year. People are becoming a lot more aware of this than when we first started." Titchner noted that even though the county has had lamp and battery recycling available for five years, many residents are still not aware that they can recycle all household batteries and types of fluorescent lamps, including compact fluorescents (CFLs). "People just need to know that they can bring them to us," Titchner said. "Although they're typically collected during electronics [collection events], we have been taking them at the recycling center because they're small. We're trying to make it more convenient for people to recycle these things." She added the center is not able to accommodate bulb dropoffs from area factories and other businesses at this time."Businesses, that's a different story because they have hundreds of lamps," Titchner said. "We work with them directly on getting the materials to us." She said while the weekly paint/pesticide collection is finished for the year, any residents who have oil-based paint or pesticides they want to recycle should contact the Elk County Community Recycling Center at 834-4886 and make arrangements to drop the items off. The two-year contract with ECS&R, who does lamp, paint, pesticide, battery and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collections for the center, will expire in April, so the authority will need to prepare documents for a request for proposal (RFP) by the end of the year. In terms of plastic recycling, Titchner said it was important for residents to remember that all labeling must be removed; containers must be cleaned; and the symbol of chasing arrows that indicate the item is recyclable should be on the item. Some items lately have been dirty, still contain labels, or are #2, #4, or #6 plastics and not #5 plastics. "Most of what we get is good. For the most part, people do pretty good," Titchner said, adding that the recycling center has close to a bale (1,000 pounds) collected right now. Electronics recycling is on the rise, with 112 vehicles dropping off electronics during the September collection event. The next electronics recycling collection will be held on Oct. 15, and Titchner said volunteers are needed both there and at the electronics center, which they are having difficulty keeping staffed. She said the center is also going to install a surveillance camera within the week through the assistance of North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission. The camera is meant to help deter and catch people who make illegal dropoffs. The center is beginning to receive plastic bottles from several area plants, a beer distributor and a furniture store, and welcomes them from other businesses and industry as well. The center has already collected about two thousand pounds of plastics from area businesses and receives about 3 cents a pound for them. "It's slowly becoming bigger," Titchner said of the collection.