Recycling center open despite fire

MARIETTA – Residents thought the Marietta Area Recycling Center closed after a fire at a recycler on Ohio 7 and a founder died, operators said.

Not so, said Kathy Ortt, recycling center coordinator.

“It’s just that since mom (Marilyn Ortt) passed away, there’s been some uncertainty,” coordinator Kathy Ortt said. “On top of that the (Level 5 Recycling Solutions) fire just caused some confusion. I just wanted to clear that up and make people aware we’re still accepting things.”

The senior Ortt, a local naturalist, passed away May 25 at the age of 78. She was among the founders of the facility, presently at 915 Gilman Ave.

The fire at Level 5, formerly Greenleaf, near Moore’s Junction, occurred July 13 and resulted in the entire facility being destroyed, including the main offices of Marietta Industrial Enterprises.

It’s business as usual at the recycling center, volunteer Becky Wright said.

“Some people have asked if we’re still going to be open, and hopefully the message is out that, yes, we will be open as usual,” she said.

Kathy Ortt said new recyclables are being accepted at the facility because of a change in where some materials are sent to be processed.

Corvus Ventures, next door to the center, processes old books, DVDs and CDs the center receives in addition to cardboard.

“They recycle things from the Cleveland Public Library,” Ortt said. “They recycle books. It’s worked well, not only with proximity, but infrastructure to absorb our materials, and we get to recycle books now, and CDs and DVDs.”

Wright said the new recycler should work well with the center.

“They have a different way of organizing materials; we just have to get used to it,” she said.

Ortt said with the new additions to what’s considered recyclable, a Treasure Table has started up, and is helping keep more things out of landfills.

“If we see anything we think could be of value and (has) a reuse purpose we’ll take some stuff and try to set it on the table and see if people will take it,” she said. “So that’s just another thing we’re trying to get out of a landfill now. Our goal is to keep as much trash out of landfills as possible. Turning trash into something of value, that’s so important.”

Dave Buchanan, 77, of Lowell has volunteered with the center for seven months.

“They needed help and I needed something to do to get out of the house,” he said.

Buchanan said he enjoys working around the center, sorting and making sure things get where they’re supposed to be.

Volunteers are always needed, said Ortt. The center has 14 volunteers, each working different days and shifts.

Ten more are needed, she said.

“We encourage volunteers of all ages,” she said. “I don’t think we’d ever turn a volunteer down.”

Ortt has stepped into her mother’s shoes and said she’s glad to carry on the legacy left behind.

“They’re big shoes to fill,” she said. “This (center) was her baby, one of the first things she started.”