Solid Waste Authority will host summit on trash, recycling issues

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority will hold a summit in conjunction with an environmental consulting firm on Oct. 16 at the WVU Extension Office in Westover.

Evan Fedorko, of the firm Downstream Strategies, aims to unite representatives from the county, municipalities and West Virginia University to discuss how trash and recycling is being handled.

SWA member Eldon Callen said there’s a “total disconnect in this county” when it comes to the difficulties presented locally by waste collection.

“They don’t see us here as part of a solution that could help everyone resolve some of these issues if they’d work with us instead of at odds with us,” Callen said. “I think we need

to define that at as a goal of that meeting.”

Fedorko called the summit an opportunity to identify ways the entities can work together.

“I think we want to get people in a room to understand that you guys are tackling these issues head-on,” Fedorko said. “The big issue being that the solid waste infrastructure in the county is reaching capacity.”

SWA and Downstream Strategies plan to present findings from a two-year study on a family of technologies known as gasification, a process that breaks down a feedstock, like municipal solid waste, to produce synthetic natural gas that can be used in the same manner as natural gas.

The SWA also heard from Monongalia County Commission candidate And-rew Price regarding a “pay-as-you-throw” option for trash and recycling.

Price presented information from Logan County, Ohio, which initiated such a program in 2007 using 14 drop-off locations.

The sites feature marked roll-off recycling containers. Area businesses and on-site vending machines sell specific trash bags ($2 each) that allow  household trash to be deposited in the appropriate dumpster.

The sale of the pay-as-you-throw trash bags, combined with the sales of recyclable materials, are meant to offset the program’s cost. This system could help rural areas and large multi-family units and without access to curbside waste and recycling collection.

Price said not only have the residents of Logan County reported savings on trash and recycling, but the county saw a dramatic increase in the amount of residential and commercial material being diverted from the waste stream.

The board, which opted to continue researching the pay-as-you-go option, suggested inviting representatives of Logan County for a formal presentation.

“I think we need to continue looking at this,” SWA chairman Hayward Helmick said. “I think it has a lot of potential.”

Also Tuesday, the SWA passed its 2018-’19 fiscal year budget, totaling $45,500.

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