Fayette County recycling

Submitted photo

Fayette County’s recycling program is part of a statewide study.

Fayette County’s Recycling Program again expanded, adding 14 more recycling drop-off bins and opening a new recycling convenience center.

Last year, county Recycling Coordinator Sheila Shea began revamping the program, placing 20 recycling bins throughout the county at different schools and municipal buildings. The bins were purchased through a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The new, 20-yard bins will also be placed in various municipalities, with two dedicated to the Bullskin Township Senior Center and Dunbar Township Municipal Building. Shea said she’s currently working with other communities to implement the county recycling program in their neighborhoods, with a goal of serving all county residents.

“We’re trying to make recycling available in all 42 municipalities, so that everyone has the option to recycle and help us reduce the waste that ends up in our landfills,” Shea said. The positive feedback and support I’ve received from residents thus far has been overwhelming. Everyone is so excited that Fayette County is expanding its recycling options.”

Recyclables that can be placed in the new bins include plastic bottles and jugs, aluminum/steel/bi-metal cans, cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper/office paper, glass bottles and jugs of all colors.

Plastic bags cannot be placed in the bins, as they damage machinery during the processing phase.

“Because of the increased convenience, Fayette County residents have doubled the amount of recycling through our drop-off program since we first expanded last year,” Shea said. “This has all been made possible through DEP funding, and we’re so grateful for the state’s continued support of what we’re trying to achieve. Expanding our drop-off program was just the beginning.”

In addition to rolling out the new bins, Shea is also preparing to hold the first Hard-to-Recycle event of the year at the new Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center, 105 Romeo Lane, Uniontown on April 24. The event, open to all Fayette County residents, will take place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The county recently purchased the former Goodwill Recycling Center using a DEP Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act grant. Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania opted to leave the industry and close its long-standing recycling center in May 2020, after serving the county for more than 30 years.

Fayette County entered into an agreement with Carry All Products Inc. of Connellsville for hauling services; and Superior Fine Grind LLC of South Connellsville for processing services.

Once fully operational, the new, county-run recycling center will offer a self-serve, drive-through option for residents to bring both traditional and hard-to-recycle items for drop-off year-round.

“Now, they won’t have to wait until our spring and fall events to dispose of tires, electronics or appliances,” Shea said.

State grants have also allowed for the purchase of new garage doors at the center, which will soon be installed at the center to offer easier drop-off access; as well as solidifying the county’s recycling vehicle fleet.

Goodwill’s former 2008 haul-all truck was converted into a roll-off truck for transporting the new recycling bins, and for use as an on-site support vehicle at the center. Additionally, the recycling program already has a compactor truck and will soon receive a 2021 F350 box truck.

Shea, who also serves as the county’s stormwater manager, said the doors and vehicles are just the first phase of upgrades at the center.

Future phases include plans for recycling education areas, stormwater best management practices (BMPs), a rain garden and more.

“It’s been amazing to shape this new recycling program that’s able to better serve our residents,” Shea said. “Four years ago, I had a vision that I wanted to bring to life. To finally see everything coming to fruition is an incredible feeling.”

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