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The Suburbanite
  • Stark townships left out of recycling loop

  • Townships in Stark County don’t have widespread curbside recycling pickup for residents, unlike smaller townships in other counties of Northeast Ohio. Waste management district and township officials said the option of at-home service comes down to necessity, cost and sustainability.

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  • Lydia Horsfall pulled up to the Jackson Township Recycling Station last week and sat in her SUV as workers unloaded bins of empty plastic bottles from her trunk.
    She lives about five minutes from the station, so she drives over when it’s convenient. But she and her passenger, township resident Ruth Chaffin, said they’d like to have the option of dumping their recycling curbside.
    “A lot more people would do it,” Chaffin said. “It’s a hassle for them.”
    Townships in Stark County don’t have widespread curbside recycling pickup for residents, unlike smaller townships in other counties of Northeast Ohio. Waste management district and township officials said the option of at-home service comes down to necessity, cost and sustainability.
    David Held, executive director of the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District, said the best way to create a lasting recycling program is to have one entity handle both trash and recycling and charge residents one fee.
    That’s not how it works for Stark County townships. The district runs the recycling locations, and residents select private trash providers.
    Held also said it’s proven that curbside recycling yields more product.
    “Whenever it’s easier for the resident to recycle, the volume goes up,” Held said.
    LOCAL COLLECTION
    The Jackson Township Recycling Station, located near Fulton Drive NW and Wales Avenue NW, handled more than 3.7 million pounds of waste last year, manager Steve DeJane said. The center averages between 350 to 400 cars per day on weekdays and between 550 and 600 cars on Saturdays.
    A few trash companies also offer recycling pickup in the township, but DeJane thinks some residents opt not to pay for the service because they worry their waste isn’t actually getting recycled.
    Not having to sort materials is also a perk for some people. Since Perry Township switched to an unmanned facility, DeJane said he has received about 10 calls a day from people in Perry, asking whether they can bring him their recyclables because they don’t want to separate the plastic from the cardboard.
    Plain Township, the largest township in Stark County, offers five self-service recycling sites. Lake Township has three. Perry Township has two.
    Plain Township Trustee Scott Haws said officials haven’t seen a need for curbside recycling because of the success of the drop-off program. In 2011, residents recycled more than 1,350 tons, according to the waste district’s county report card.
    In Perry Township, Trustee Doug Haines is in early talks with Kimble Co. to negotiate a curbside recycling deal for residents. Residents could still choose their own trash service. But if they wanted the recycling picked up, they would have to sign up with Kimble for trash removal, too. Haines said one of the reasons Kimble offers recycling pickup is to lure customers.
    Page 2 of 2 - “There’s not a lot of money in recycling,” he said.
    OTHER COUNTIES
    The waste management authority in Summit County offers its townships grants to help them implement curbside recycling programs through private companies, said Yolanda Walker, executive director of ReWorks, the waste management authority for the county.
    Of the nine townships in Summit County, all but two use curbside pickup.
    In Portage County, townships get to decide whether they want a drop-off center or curbside service through the Portage County Solid Waste Management District, Director William Steiner II said.
    If a township wanted a pick-up service, district officials would work with trustees to gauge interest and determine the cost of sending trucks out based on the population density, he said.
    The most populated township with curbside pickup in Portage County is Brimfield Township, which has about 10,100 residents. Plain Township is more than five times larger, with about 52,500 residents, according to census data.
    The Portage County district has 14 drop-off centers in the county’s villages and townships and offers recycling pick-up in seven townships.
    Residents who live in a township with curbside pick-up are required to pay a monthly fee for recycling services, regardless of whether they choose to use them. The fee ranges from $2.21 to $2.89, depending on the township’s distance from the district and its population density, Steiner said.
    The district typically sees a higher volume of waste collected from curbside recycling versus a drop-off centers.
    “For curbside, it’s a matter of convenience,” Steiner said. “Some people love to recycle, however, they might find the drive is inconvenient.”
    Reach Alison at 330-580-8312 or alison.matas@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @amatasREP