Drop-off program still a big cost for county

At the recent meeting of the Elk County Solid Waste Authority, Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator Bekki Titchner provided authority members with a cost comparison report depicting costs incurred by the county's recycling programs both before and after the formation of the Community Recycling Center at the Stackpole Complex in St. Marys.The figures were for the periods of Oct. 2009 through Feb. 2010, which was before the center opened, and from Oct. 2010 through Feb. 2011, the months immediately following the opening. According to the figures, the county saw expenses of $28,987.53 for the period before the center opened. All of those costs came from its drop-off recycling program. During the period after the center opened the county's expenses were $10,408.19, with the majority of the costs still coming from the drop-off recycling program. Prior to the opening of the center, the drop-off recycling program cost the county $4,613.24 in Oct. 2009; $4759.43 in Nov. 2009; $4,726.60 in Dec. 2009; $5,186.98 in Jan. 2010; and $9,701.28 in Feb. 2010. Titchner noted that the drop-off program was scaled back considerably after the Community Recycling Center opened. After the center opened, costs for the drop-off recycling program were $3,574.82 in Oct. 2010; $1,827.12 in Nov. 2010; $1,276.68 in Dec. 2010; $2,371.65 in Jan. 2011; and $439.55 in Feb. 2011. Titchner remarked that a telephone was also recently installed at the recycling center."We needed a phone and opted for a landline in case of an emergency," Titchner said. "We have an answering machine to state our hours or [for people to leave a message if they] need to talk to us about things."She noted that individuals often have questions about the types of items accepted at the facility, particularly plastics. "People are very understanding, but they get frustrated just like we do over some of the plastics. It's the plastics, because paper, we can take just about anything they give us, but plastics is the issue," Titchner said. The number for the center is 834-4886. Titchner also reported that she hopes that one day a baler can be purchased for the recycling center. The center is currently using a baler provided by JaSar Recycling, Inc., which the county contracts with to market the items they recycle.