By Steve Swatzel, REHS, Director of Environment Health
Recycling is generally defined the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. This activity is very important by reducing the amount of trash going to our landfills, conserving our natural resources, reducing our dependency on foreign producers, preventing pollution of our environment, and saving our energy. According to the U.S. EPA, each person generates in average amount of over four pounds of trash per day. Sadly, only 32% of the waste generated over the entire United States was either recycled, composted, or reused.
In Ohio the recycling rate is even less. Ohioans manage only a rate of 28%. Within our local communities of Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton, we achieve an even lower recycling rate of only 12%. For reference and comparison of how low recycling rates are in Ohio and in our communities, the states of Pennsylvania and Michigan have recycling rates of 60% and 40%, respectively. Every individual in our local communities can make a difference and better their environment by starting any kind of recycling within their homes or businesses.
Steps to start a successful recycling program:
1. Start sorting out recyclable goods before throwing out the garbage. Place a small bin next to the trash can for recyclables. The most common items that contain recyclable materials are newspapers, 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 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. For a complete list of recyclable materials visit www.gjmvrecycle.com or contact the Meigs County Health Department.
3. 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. According to the U.S. EPA,
recycling one ton of paper could save enough energy to power the average American home for six months. Purchasing products made from recycled materials also provides a greater market and need for recycled waste. Most recycled products have the same quality, reliability, and dependability as their non-recycled counterparts.
4. Many have heard the saying “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. The reuse of items is considered a part of a recycling program. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you’ll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.
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 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…Corner of Bridgeman St and Second St
4. Village of Racine….301 South Third Street Racine
5. Tupper’s Plains….Across from 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, SR124 & Boy Scout Road
9. Village of Middleport….Across from police station at 659 Pearl Street
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