SWA recycling pilot plans moving forward

At the Tuesday meeting of the Elk County Solid Waste Authority, Recycling/Solid Waste Coordinator Bekki Titchner said representatives from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the PA Recycling Markets Center will soon visit the county's community recycling center in regard to a pilot project to collect and recycle PET thermoform packaging. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a strong, food-safe plastic used to make many types of containers, including soft drink and water bottles. The SWA is still working on finding a market for the material and figuring out how much it will cost for a hauler to transport. "According to the Recycling Markets Center, most plastic processing plants are now set up to deal with PET thermoform. So I asked [recycling hauling company] Ja-Sar] if any of the plants they were dealing with were, so maybe we could make a few cents off of it," Titchner said. "We're the only rural center in this national grant [for PET thermoform recycling]. So it's kind of neat. Everything else is in metropolitan areas." Titchner encouraged area businesses and industries without a recycling vendor to consider bringing their #1 and #2 plastic bottles, cardboard, paper and polypropylene Flex bags to the community recycling center. A brochure has been created for these businesses that provides more information. All the proceeds from the sale of the recyclable items, as well as any donation money, return directly to the county's recycling program. Titchner credited SWA/Conservation District Secretary Diane Myers with putting the brochure together. Veolia Greentree Landfill was awarded a bid for the county's paint and pesticide and household hazardous waste collections. At the landfill, they are doing some permanent cap construction and have 1.5 acres of cap to complete. They are working on a final cap on eight or nine acres, part of the expansion project, and the area on the north side adjacent to the cap is being evaluated to see if additional acres can be capped this year. The landfill is also hoping to receive approval soon on plans for upgrades to the centralized treatment plant. "That's going to be a huge investment," Titchner said. The gas plant is operating well and treating 100 percent of the gas collected. Three additional temporary wells and three permanent wells have been put in the final cap area of the expansion landfill in the past month. Municipalities are reminded that they need to provide registration information to the landfill if they are planning to participate in the Great PA Cleanup, which will be held from April 21 to May 7. "There's a registration number that goes with the event," Titchner said. "If you're planning an illegal dump cleanup or some other event that takes waste to the landfill, the disposal is free if you register with Keep PA Beautiful, you have a number, and then the landfill can use that when they submit all that tonnage at the end of the two-week period." SWA Chairman Russ Braun inquired if the Elk County chapter of PA Cleanways is still around. "We're still here, waiting for somebody to tell us they want us to help do a cleanup," Titchner said. "If you have cleanups in Elk County, let us know. We'd be happy to help you. It would be nice to be active again, because we haven't been for quite a while." Code Enforcement Officer Dave Stubber traveled 121 miles and worked 160 hours between Feb. 27 and March 16. He closed three demolition permits and approved 17 new ones, the majority for residences on Osterhout Street that are being demolished to make way for the state Route 120 and state Route 219 bypass through Ridgway. He said the used baler the recycling center recently received works well, but he thinks a batch of bad wire to tie the plastic bales may have caused some of the bales to break. The company is taking back the faulty wire at no charge, even though a good portion has already been used. Titchner noted that when one of these compressed bales comes apart like that, the material flies all over the place and it can take hours to clean up all of the plastic. Stubber said the forklift at the recycling center had some troubles over the past week, a major reason why a new fork truck is on the SWA's wish list if they receive money from a state recycling program grant they are applying for. Stubber said the truck wouldn't start when he went to use it to begin moving baled material. "Go to start the fork truck. Won't start. Nothing. And it's sitting right in the middle of the floor," Stubber said. Pick up a copy of the Thursday, April 5, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.