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Recycling ordinance focus of 2-hour roundtable discussion

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Starting over seemed to be the general consensus of local garbage haulers, county government officials and members of the Harrison County Solid Waste Authority at Friday's meeting to discuss Harrison County's recycling ordinance.

The two-hour meeting was a roundtable discussion of current problems with the recycling system and how to address them. Haulers and officials gave input on what they thought should be done.

The result: Changing the ordinance to give it more teeth.

"The ordinance was put in place and since then it's gone along without any structure and the last couple of years it has plateaued," said Mike Grunau, chairman of the authority. "We're going to revisit the ordinance and look at revamping it."

The current ordinance is voluntary and there are no penalties for those who do not recycle. It also doesn't address products like fluorescent bulbs, Grunau said.

The group identified various problems including public complaints about infrequent pickup of recyclable materials, public confusion on what can be recycled and how to prepare it, responsibility of enforcement for violators and education and media programs to get more people to recycle.

Paul Hamrick, acting director of the authority, shared surveys from the public and from county sixth graders on their ideas and knowledge of the existing recycling ordinance.

The county has received complaints from residents who separate their recyclables, but then see the haulers throw the items in with the rest of the trash.

Standardizing the way residents recycle, from removing labels and caps from plastic bottles to rinsing out cans, was a topic several in attendance discussed.

Keeping the process simple would ultimately result in more people recycling, according to Randy Lemasters of Recycling Works.

"We need to make things as easy for the public as possible," he said.

Future meetings with the haulers, businesses and members of the public will be held before the authority makes a recommendation to the county commission on changes to the ordinance, Grunau said.

No meeting dates have yet been scheduled.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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