Plans for recycling center move forward

A recycling center for Venango County may be on the horizon as the county has launched a feasibility study funded by a $35,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“We like to think of it more as a developmental study because we’re already going down this path,” said county recycling coordinator Erik Johnson. “We just need to see about revenue streams, logistics and the day-to-day operations.”

Johnson said there is definitely a demand for this service as he receives countless calls from county residents requesting recycling services.

“The crux of all this is a manned facility,” Johnson said, adding that the county once had unmanned drop-off points, but they were discontinued due to sanitation issues and unauthorized content.

“Special collections will play a big part in the center,” Johnson said.

Johnson has conducted scheduled special collections (tires, electronics, etc.) which have seen high participation. Special collections also include household hazardous waste, such as chemicals and electronics, which are prohibited from being placed in regular trash.

“We’ve been having special collections for eight years and the numbers don’t drop off,” Johnson said, “which shows a need and a desire to get rid of that stuff. The feasibility study is an effort to find a way to provide this service in a way that is at least cost neutral.”

A way to offset the cost is to process material, such as bailing cardboard and selling it to a vendor that will recycle it into feed stock.

One more way that the center may serve the community is through education.

“There’s an educational component to it that will help local school districts create and implement a valuable recycling program,” Johnson said.

The location is yet to be determined, but county planning director Jason Ruggiero said the county is leaning toward Cranberry Township to provide a central location.