CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County residents will have additional recycling drop-off sites available in September, announced Jodi Brennan, solid waste authority director, at Tuesday’s commissioners’ work session.
The CCSWA previously downsized its recycling drop-off program to one central location at the county jail. Since then, it has continued to work and negotiate with its vendor, Advance Disposal, in regards to the drop-off recycling program, said Brennan.
When it starts back up, she said it will be a little different and a hybrid program because Advance Disposal is sub-contracting with the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority to serve the Curwensville, Houtzdale and Kylertown sites at a slightly lower rate.
Drop-off sites will be located at the Curwensville Borough Garage, Curwensville, and the Woodward Township and Cooper Township municipal buildings in Houtzdale and Kylertown.
The Curwensville, Houtzdale and Kylertown sites will accept metal cans, clear glass bottles and jars, brown and green glass bottles and jars, newspaper, mixed paper and plastic bottles.
At these sites, the brown and green glass will be collected separately. Also, newspaper will be included with the mixed paper, according to a recycling program guide provided by Brennan.
In addition to the county’s central site in Clearfield, other drop-off sites will be located at the Brady Township Municipal Building and the Penfield Volunteer Fire Department.
The Brady Township site will accept metal cans, clear glass bottles and jars, brown and green glass bottles and jars, newspaper, mixed paper and corrugated cardboard.
The Penfield site will accept metal cans, clear glass bottles and jars, brown and green glass bottles and jars and newspaper.
The central site in Clearfield will continue to take metal cans, clear glass bottles and jars, newspaper, mixed paper and corrugated cardboard.
Commissioner John A. Sobel, chair, thanked Brennan for efforts to make sure the CCSWA could provide more than just one central drop-off location for the recycling program.
Solicitor Kim Kesner said this wouldn’t have been possible if the county hadn’t successfully defended its solid waste plan to the challenge from Waste Management.
“If the commissioners hadn’t held the line and financed a defense of our plan, we would have lost everything that Advance Disposal proposed, so were in a much better position,” he said.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said it was worth pointing out that they have had to take unique steps because of the lack of resolution out of Harrisburg to provide the county with an adequate funding stream to pay for these recycling services.
“All three of us are very satisfied that we’ve been able to find ways to re-establish recycling drop-off sites throughout the county,” he said, crediting the work of Brennan and the CCSWA. “… Again, we’ve had to think outside of the box in Clearfield County.”
For more information or program details, please contact the CCSWA office at 814-765-5149.
On Tuesday Sobel also called attention to another issue of importance in Clearfield County, the recycling of electronics. In October of last year, the county’s contract expired with its electronics recycling vendor.
The county has not been able to recycle electronics since that time. It was unable to locate another electronics recycler, and the last one didn’t want to continue its arrangement with the county due to “cost factors.”
This, he said, has become a particular concern for Scotto, who read a prepared statement during the work session. “It has become increasingly difficult for residents of the county to recycle older televisions and electronic devices.
“We currently do not have a contract with a vendor to perform the services. Even if we have a vendor, they would meet their recycling quota early on. Thus, [it would be] leaving the surplus sitting at our site. This situation is getting worse, and vendors are reluctant to accept any new contracts.”
According to Scotto, the Covered Device Recycling Act was intended to help the environment and to be funded by the manufacturers of the devices. “They were to pay for the recyclers to get a certain tonnage based on the tonnage they sold,” he said.
“Well, new electronics are a heck of a lot lighter, thus vendors quickly meet the required tonnage for recycling.”
On various occasions, he said local representatives to the Pennsylvania General Assembly have been advised of the major electronics recycling problem facing the CCSWA, board of commissioners and private citizens.
Scotto said there really wasn’t any feedback from them, and they started to hear about a bill proposal that many legislators believe is the solution to the electronics recycling problem facing counties across the commonwealth.
Scotto said he’s reviewed the bill proposal and doesn’t believe it’s a solution but another “bad deal for the county.” According to him, it would have the county set up and operate electronic recycling drop-off centers and in return get 5 cents/pound.
“It takes the responsibility off of the manufacturers and puts heavy cost onto the county,” he said. “The 5 cents/pound wouldn’t cover much of the expenses. We would have no other option other than refuse recycling of electronic goods, as it would be cost prohibitive and make the county out to be the bad guys.”
Scotto, however, proposed another fix, which would lift the ban on the electronic covered devices until a viable plan is in place. This, he said, would allow for these devices to be placed into designated landfills for now.
He pointed out that bans were rescinded in both West Virginia and North Carolina due to similar problems. “It’s a simple temporary fix until the legislature comes up with the correct solution,” he said.
Scotto urged residents to contact State Reps. Tommy Sankey and Matt Gabler and to oppose the bill proposal by State Rep. Chris Ross of Chester County.
Right now, Brennan explained residents have tried putting out old television sets, and they’re not being picked up. If you walk through town, you can see old televisions sitting on people’s porches, and the CCSWA is seeing a lot of illegal dumping, she said.
According to her, it’s not just a problem in rural Pennsylvania, but also all across the commonwealth, including the more urban areas. There are recyclers, she said, who do not participate in a manufacturer’s plan; however, they charge and it’s extremely costly.
She said that the CCSWA gets calls about electronics recycling every day. It plans to explore a pay for electronics recycling service for probably a one-day event. “I am not sure if there’s an interest, but that is one temporary fix,” she said.
Brennan said she’s been working with counterparts across the commonwealth, along with other state entities, to put together some legislative fixes as an alternative to Ross’ bill proposal, which she added lacks support.
Brennan said she was invited to and attended a hearing, and Ross “got an earful” about his bill proposal but “blew it off. “It seems to be an across the board problem in Harrisburg,” said McCracken. “They will call hearings but won’t listen.
“This bill that Ross is proposing isn’t a solution to the problem. We’re talking about another unfunded mandate here when there is a reasonable way to fix it. But they won’t fix it … and this is what people are getting fed up with.
“I think even county and municipal governments are getting fed up with it. And, they need to step back and realize that if you’re going to mandate something, then you need to provide a funding stream for it.”
McCracken added, “And, if you don’t provide a funding stream for it, then you are a coward and you are putting what I call a coward’s tax increase down on the local people.”