Volunteers needed at recycling center

MARIETTA – It’s been said that many hands make light work, and volunteers at the Marietta Recycling Center would sure like to put that maxim to the test.

The center has just six regular volunteers these days, down from a dozen a few years ago. And this week some of them are on vacation and at least one is sidelined by illness.

“It means less gets done and the place is more of a mess when people come in,” said volunteer Brad Bond around a sore throat. “And so (people) respect it less.”

That means they may just toss their items in a heap rather than following the directions posted on signs around the facility at 915 Gilman Ave., creating even more work for the small group of volunteers.

Volunteer Becky Wright said the reason for the decline in volunteers is simply the march of time.

“They’re all senior citizens, and quite elderly some of them, and they’ve just retired from the center and we haven’t been able to replace them,” she said. “Some of these people have worked there for years, like 20 years.”

The drop in numbers puts additional pressure on the remaining volunteers to sort and maintain items at the center.

But if people want to volunteer, they can lighten the load without dedicating a great deal of time, Wright said.

“We are looking for someone who is willing to be trained … and then can devote one or two shifts a week to the center,” she said. “Really, the shift is only about an hour to an hour-and-a-half.”

Since the center is open around the clock, volunteers can come when it works best for them and sort the accumulated items, Wright said.

“We pack cardboard as tightly as we can in a trailer,” she said. “We sort bottles into brown, green and clear and toss them into trailers. We sort plastic, making sure there’s no metal, no No. 3, 6 or 7 tossed into the compactor. Those are not recyclable.”

Proper sorting prevents additional waste by making sure everything in a load can be recycled by the entity taking it, Wright said.

“That’s our goal is to keep as much of it out of the landfill as possible,” she said.

The center is open to any local residents. Although Rebay Recycling has a location on Colegate Drive and some areas outside Marietta have curbside recycling, Wright said the volunteer center accepts a wider variety of items – including garden pots, foil, extraneous metal, bottle lids and caps and multiple kinds of plastic.

Vincent resident Tony Foreman, 41, regularly brings recyclables to the center “to make things last just a tad longer.” He finds the center’s setup and location convenient.

“It’s just easy to back up and unload several weeks’ worth of plastic and stuff,” he said.

The center also continues to seek financial support. It costs about $10,000 a year to run, with the sale of recyclable materials only drawing about $2,000 last year, Wright said.