Why do we recycle?

County currently has eight recycling bins

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@civitasmedia.com

At a recent meeting, the Fayette County Commissioners approved a $3,000 disbursement request for Toni Penwell, Fayette County Community Outreach Specialist for the Ross-Pickaway-Highland-Fayette Solid Waste Management District (RPHF).

“That was her [Penwell] asking us if she has fulfilled her obligations as the outreach specialist as defined by the director and we determined from the reports that she did and she was paid,” said Tony Anderson, Fayette County Commissioner.

Penwell has been working to find more locations for recycling bins in the county in order to meet requirements set forth in the district’s solid waste management plan, as required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of the district’s solid waste management plan, recycling bins must be provided to county residents in convenient locations within 90 percent of the county’s population, according to Tom Davis, the RPHF District Director.

Davis said Fayette County is currently meeting the recycling needs for 77.9 percent of the population.

“If Fayette County was to add one more recycling site in Washington C.H., they would probably meet the 90 percent requirement,” said Davis.

Currently the district has 19 recycling bins, and eight of those are located in Fayette County.

He said it has been a slow process finding business owners to welcome the recycling bins on their property.

“We have to convince property owners of businesses that it’s beneficial to them to have the bins, and we have to educate them and say we are trying to keep those sites as clean as possible. Sometimes people set trash beside them, or old televisions and mattresses, and it’s costly to remove that, and for the property owner, unsightly,” said Davis.

But he said there are benefits to having a recycling bin located close to a business.

“It can add some foot traffic as residents come in to recycle—they can do some recycling and then shop at those stores while they are there,” said Davis.

In the past six months 1,621.65 tons of recycling has been collected from the 43 recycling bins in the four-county district, according to Davis.

Davis said they do not get any revenue generated from the materials that are recycled.

“The cost to go out to collect that material is much higher than the value of those materials,” said Davis.

In 2015, RPHF paid $197,000 to have the bins, for Rumpke to pick up the materials, and to have the materials taken to a facility for recycling.

“That money comes from every waste hauler that collects solid waste in these four counties. When they go to dispose of their waste at a transfer station or landfill, we receive $3 on each ton,” said Davis.

The other option is to offer curbside recycling to residents, but the concern is that it might result in one company doing all of the city’s curbside recycling.

According to the Fayette County Health Department, there are six different waste haulers that provide trash removal in the city of Washington C.H.

If the city wanted to request curbside recycling, they would have to request the companies to provide that, or would have to ask for the companies interested to place a bid, but Davis said some of the waste haulers may not have the necessary equipment or manpower to be able to provide recycling service.

“There’s a lot of trash haulers involved, and some of them would be affected, and we don’t want to displace any of them or put them out of business,” said Davis. “If the city were to go to one waste hauler, those other businesses would be affected.”

According to the EPA, recycling and composting prevented 87.2 million tons of material from being disposed of into landfills in 2013.

When material goes into a landfill, it releases carbon dioxide and methane. The 87.2 million tons of material recycled in 2013 would have generated an additional 186 metric tons of carbon dioxide and released it into the air, which would have been the exhaust equivalent for 39 million cars.

Carbon dioxide prevents heat in the atmosphere from being released back into space, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has doubled in the past 200 years and risen to its highest levels the earth has seen in 400,000 years.

The effect of this is that the trapped heat in the atmosphere changes the climate on earth.

This greenhouse effect, or change in the earth’s climate, is attributed to events like Sunday’s national disaster in Louisiana, where 20,000 people were evacuated after two feet of rain fell in just three days.

It was the result of record amounts of atmospheric water vapor combined with a stagnant low pressure system, according to the National Weather Service. And, say experts, now these large-scale climate disasters like what happened in Louisiana are the biggest threat to the global economy, according to the World Economic Forum.

Mostly, it’s triggered by the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But there are other reasons to recycle, besides the fact that it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere that could trigger catastrophic events that cause mass evacuations.

The United States produces more than two million tons of e-waste a year, according to the EPA, and when put into landfills, the toxic chemicals are released back into the environment. Sometimes our garbage, when exported to landfills in Africa and Asia, is openly dumped on land shared with families and children, who may actually sort through the materials to salvage metal and food. And at least 13 million metric tons of garbage is floating in the oceans, according to a 2010 report in the journal Science, with more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans, according to a peer-reviewed research article published in the Public Library of Science Journal.

According to Rumpke, in 2015, residents in the Ross-Pickaway-Highland-Fayette Solid Waste Management District recycled 7.8 million pounds of materials, the equivalent of taking the emissions from 747 cars off the road for one year.

Recycling locations in Fayette County:

  • Fayette County Transfer, 1600 Robinson Rd SE WCH
  • Bloomingburg Town Hall, rear of 62 Main Street
  • Detty’s Market, 10 W. High St. Jeffersonville
  • Deercreek State Park, 20635 Waterloo Rd. Mt. Sterling (Shared with Pickaway County)
  • Miami Trace High School, 3722 State Route 41 NW WCH
  • New Holland Fire station, 17 N. Church St. (Shared with Pickaway County)
  • Milledgeville, 850 Main Street (Community Center)
  • Family Home & Shopping Center, 2100 Columbus Blvd WCH

Items that can be recycled at these locations:

  • Glass Bottles and Jars
  • Paper
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Cardboard / Paperboard
  • Steel Cans
  • Plastic Bottles & Jugs

The solid waste district would like to remind everyone that medical sharps and syringes may not be recycled at these locations.

County currently has eight recycling bins

By Ashley Bunton


Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton