Solid Waste Authority seeking equipment grant

The Elk County Solid Waste Authority's recycling program grant application to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be sent out this week, according to Elk County Recycling/Solid Waste Coordinator Bekki Titchner. At Tuesday's meeting of the authority, Titchner said the 902 grant funding through the state may be used for recycling equipment and the authority has requested several needed items for the Elk County Community Recycling Center. "I'm not really sure what will happen-- all we [can] do is send it in and hope for the best. It could be months before we get it back, whether they will approve our grant request," Titchner said, explaining that the application process is usually quite lengthy because requests are sent through several different DEP offices. "We're looking for a new vertical baler and a forklift and some containers, and some public education stuff and recycling bins and things like that.It's not a huge grant, and luckily we were able to use the horizontal baler [funding which was provided by the Stackpole-Hall Foundation] as match, so we won't have any out-of-pocket match." Titchner said paints and pesticides are being accepted at the recycling center until the end of summer on Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. Applicable items are pesticides and oil-based paints, varnishes and sealers. She said for some reason, traffic is down for this type of recycling. "It's been kind of slow going with that," Titchner said. "Perhaps people just don't have oil-based paints like they used to. The stuff we're getting is extremely old-- people are cleaning out garages and basements of parents or grandparents who have passed away." She said the center is hoping to get its planned latex paint exchange for area residents up and running within the next month or so. Titchner said residents have also been asking about the possibility of hosting a confidential document-shredding event. "We've actually had a number of individuals call or stop by the center to ask us if we can shred confidential documents, which we cannot," Titchner said, adding that it was suggested that they involve service groups to help pay for such an event. Titchner said she researched nearby businesses who offer large-scale shredding services and noted the only company she could find with a portable shredder that was willing to travel to Elk County was based in Pittsburgh and would charge $200 per hour, including three hours of travel time. The event would need to be scheduled on either a Monday, Thursday, or Friday, and people would be able to bring up to five boxes for shredding without being charged. "They would shred documents, give people certificates of destruction, people could watch their documents being shredded, it would be free up to a certain number of boxes, they would help do the advertising," Titchner said. She said the closest place that would take confidential documents for shredding is in Brockway, meaning people would have to travel there, and they would have to pay a fee per box. Additionally, that facility does not offer to shred the documents while they are present, which she said many people prefer. She said while the recycling center does accept shredded documents for recycling, the sheer volume of sensitive information some area residents have can make it difficult for them to shred it all, and it is not advisable to bring intact confidential papers for recycling. "Sometimes people have a lot of documents. And we ended up with a lot of documents at the recycling center that we probably shouldn't have," Titchner said. "Recycling is not document destruction. If people have these confidential things, they need to shred them at home. We try to be very sensitive to that. We don't want anybody's confidential information to get out. That's why an event like this would be nice for people." Authority member Fred Krug inquired whether it would be prudent to look into the purchase of a shredder. Titchner said the cheapest one she's seen still costs about $75,000.Elk County Solid Waste Authority Chairman Russ Braun inquired about the total cost of a shredding event. Titchner said the company said they would only charge for three hours of travel time, so coupled with a three-hour shredding event, the total cost would be $1,200. The shredding company would also assume all liability for accepting the confidential documents. "It truly is a service. It doesn't benefit us monetarily or anything like that. It's just providing something for residents to get rid of these documents." Titchner said the company that shreds the documents will recycle them, and the tonnage amount will go into the Elk County Solid Waste's Authority's end-of-year recycling report. The board voted to approve taking further steps to hold the event, including finding an appropriate site. Authority board members also held a brief executive session at the meeting to discuss a prior request by Enforcement Officer Dave Stubber to be based at the Elk County Community Recycling Center in St. Marys rather than the Courthouse Annex in Ridgway and the need to update the contract they have with the Elk County Conservation District, Stubber's actual employer, for him to also do work for the authority. No action was taken as a result of the executive session. However, an authority member will make arrangements to meet with one of the Conservation District board members to confer on updating the contract. Elk County Commissioner Janis E. Kemmer volunteered for this activity. Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, June 27, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.Next meeting:Elk County Solid Waste AuthorityTuesday, Aug. 28Courthouse Annex, Conf. Room No. 24:30 p.m.