Meigs Health Matters… Recycling becoming more urgent

By Steve Swatzel - Meigs Health Matters

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The EPA reported in 2018 that the United States generated 292 million tons of municipal solid waste, commonly known as trash or garbage. In other words, each person generated 4.9 pounds of trash per day. This amount of waste has been steadily increasing year after year.

Only 32% of waste generated was either recycled, composted, or reused. The remaining amount went to a landfill somewhere in the US. Currently, there are only 1,250 landfills operating in the country which is 700 less than were operating 20 years ago. Does this mean the US could run out of places to put its trash? According to Dr. Bryan Staley, CEO of the Environmental Research & Education foundation, the country has only 62 years left of capacity in the current landfills. The Ohio EPA reported, the state’s recycling rate is around 28% for all residential and commercial waste. The local solid waste district reported a much lower recycling rate of only 12% for the four-county region of Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton. The need for increasing our recycling or reuse has become a greater concern than ever before.

Steps to start a successful recycling program in your business or home:

1. Start sorting out recyclable goods before throwing out the garbage.

The most common items that contain recyclable materials are newspaper, magazines, catalogs, office paper, phone books, cereal boxes, cardboard, aluminum cans, tin cans, steel cans, plastic bottles including laundry detergent bottles, glass bottles and rinsed out milk or juice cartons.

2. Find a drop-off site that accepts recyclable materials.

There are numerous sites throughout the Meigs county. These locations are for RECYCLABLE MATERIALS ONLY. Do NOT take furniture, electronics, clothes, or other solid waste. Dropping solid waste at recycling locations is considered littering and open dumping which is a criminal offense. If these items are not reusable, then they must go to a landfill.

3. Purchase products made of recycled materials.

Buying products manufactured from recycled materials reduces the demand for additional raw materials. These raw materials include steel, oil, timber, natural gas, coal, and minerals which to obtain or produce can have significant impacts on the environment. Most of the time making products from recycled materials require less energy to produce than when relying on raw materials. Purchasing products made from recycled materials provides a greater market and need for recycled waste. Most recycled products have the same quality, reliability, and dependability as their non-recycled counterparts.

The Gallia, Jackson, Meigs, Vinton Solid Waste District provides funding to operate a recycling program in each of the four counties. Fees collected at the landfills and transfer stations are used partly to pay for the recycling program in the district. The cost of recycling in the district is currently over $200,000 per year.

There are nine locations within Meigs County that residents can drop off recyclable materials. The recycling bins are located at the following places:

1. Columbia Township Fire Dept., 29466 SR143, Albany;

2. Village of Pomeroy, Hiland Road, Pomeroy;

3. Village of Syracuse, 2449 Third Street, Syracuse;

4. Village of Racine, 301 South Third Street, Racine;

5. Tuppers Plains, 5009 SR681, Reedsville;

6. Village of Rutland, 628 Depot Street, Rutland;

7. Salem Center Fire Dept., 28844 SR124, Langsville;

8. Village of Chester, Chester Commons, SR248 and Scout Camp Road, Chester;

9. Village of Middleport, 659 Pearl Street, Middleport.

Any questions may be directed to the Meigs County Health Department at 740-992-6626 or to the GJMV Solid Waste District at 740-384-2164.

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By Steve Swatzel

Meigs Health Matters

Steve Swatzel, RS, is the Director of Environment Health at the Meigs County Health Department.

Steve Swatzel, RS, is the Director of Environment Health at the Meigs County Health Department.