Recycling pays off for second year

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg Recycling Center has paid for itself for the second year in a row,.

In 2012, the center collected $115,000 for recycled materials. In 2011, the center brought in more than $107,000. In 2009-10 the city sold about $104,000 in recycled materials.

Mayor Bob Newell said up until 2011, the center lost money.

“We’ve had a recycling program for 20 years, and it generally lost money,” he said.

“About five years ago, we really revamped the recycling program city-wide. We did a lot of public education, we supplied a bunch more of the recycling containers. We got the word out to people what you can and cannot recycle. We hired an education specialist through grants who worked with schools and the community.

“As a result, we tripled the amount of recycling we received, and for the first time the program began paying for itself,” Newell said.

In 2012, the center collected nearly 1,120 tons of materials that sold for $115,425.10. Public Works Director Rick Lemley said recycling those materials rather than disposing of them in landfills saved the city an estimated $50,358.24.

The largest haul was in May 2012 when officials collected more than 115 tons of materials. The lowest months were February and September when less than 89 tons were collected each month.

Newell said in addition to the money the sale of recycled materials brings, the city saves money by reducing waste as a whole.

“All of that stuff we recycle doesn’t go into the landfill,” he said. “We have less tonnage going into the landfill than we normally would, and it’s a cost savings. We make money on one end and save on the other, so it is a very good program.”

Newell said Parkersburg’s recycling program doesn’t just affect Parkersburg residents. The city sets up recycling bins throughout the city that can be used by anyone. The city also collects recyclables for Vienna and has a recycling program with Camden Clark Medical Center.

The city also is looking at using grant money to hire another education specialist, and plans to set up informational booths at local fairs and festivals.

For more information on the recycling center and its services, visit Recyclables can be dropped off at the Collection Center at 100 24th St., or at trailer bins at Fire Station 3 at 13th and Liberty streets in north Parkersburg or Fire Station 5 on Blizzard Drive in south Parkersburg.