‘A great addition’: Recycling center holds open house

A number of local officials, county employees and a representative from the Department of Environmental Protection attended Friday’s open house and ribbon cutting for the new Venango County Community Recycling Center near Venango Regional Airport.

“This recycling center is a great addition to the community and a great service to residents of Venango County, especially to people moving back to the area who are used to having recycling available,” Erik Johnson, the county’s recycling coordinator, said at the ceremony.

Johnson added that the center will promote the growth and revitalization of the region.

Johnson thanked his co-workers at the county planning commission, the county commissioners, state officials and the DEP for their support of the project.

“It is important to believe in something and see it through,” Johnson said.

The recycling center has been six years in the making.

“Recycling is a wonderful thing to provide to the community. This is a huge step forward for Venango County,” county commissioner Mike Dulaney said.

The focus of the center will be on traditional household recycling items such as plastic, paper, cans and cardboard, Johnson said.

At this point, Johnson said, glass is accepted at the center but it will be used for landfill cover and not recycled. He added that he is looking into contracting with a hauler who would recycle the glass.

Johnson noted that items to be recycled should not be brought in plastic grocery bags because the bags get caught in the machinery and cause problems.

The center will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for special collections, Johnson said. He added that special collections will also be held once a month on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Johnson said it is necessary for people to register for a time slot beforehand to drop off items for the special collections.

After including a recommendation for a recycling center in the county’s five-year plan in 2015, the county received a $345,502 state grant for a recycling center in October 2018 with the stipulation the facility be paid for by January 2021. That deadline was later extended until June 2021.

The county considered multiple sites, including the former Sears Automotive center in the Cranberry Mall. Cranberry Township supervisors rejected that proposal after discussions at several meetings.

In June 2020, the county settled on the CATA bus garage site near the airport, but some of the work had to wait until CATA moved its fleet to the new multimodal transportation hub in downtown Oil City.

Johnson said the county has received another grant that will be used to build an addition onto the recycling center and a loading dock.