Recycling grows quickly in Berkeley

August 05, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARLOWE, W.Va. - Clint Hogbin describes Berkeley County's recycling program as "low-tech and low-cost."

But it's also one of the fastest-growing recycling operations in West Virginia, with a volume so far this year almost equal to the county's total for all of 1996.

Hogbin, chairman of the county's Solid Waste Authority, said materials collected through June totaled 252,987 pounds, compared to 262,322 pounds last year.

Last year's figure was more than double the amount processed in 1995, the program's first year. With the opening of a drop-off site in Marlowe in June, there are now five places for residents to take their aluminum and steel cans, colored and clear glass, cardboard and newspapers.


Marlowe's site on U.S. 11 is open Thursdays with an attendant from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a shed and a recycling trailer parked outside the Handi Shopper market. Newspapers go into the shed and the trailer has compartments for other recyclables.

The trailer moves to Hedgesville Fridays and Saturdays, to Inwood Mondays and Tuesdays, and to Porterfield's Collision Center on W.Va. 9 East on Wednesdays. In two days at Inwood last week, it drew 117 people, according to Hogbin.

"The participation at Hedgesville is real good, too," he said.

The other site is the authority's building on Grapevine Road near Martinsburg, W.Va., where on Saturdays residents can drop off recyclables and yard waste, which are no longer taken by landfills.

Hogbin said about 1,100 trips a month are made to the sites, which should collect about 250 tons of waste this year.

The program is separate from Martinsburg's curbside municipal recycling program.

The program costs about $40,000 a year, with half coming from a state grant to the authority and the rest from the county.

Hogbin said as the program grows, the county may be able to sell the recyclables and defray some of the costs.

Those dropping off waste at Grapevine Road can take something home with them: compost. Hogbin said a farmer takes the grass clippings, weeds, brush and other debris, grinding it up for use on his fields as fertilizer and saving him thousands of dollars a year.

The farmer returns some of the compost to Grapevine Road, where residents can take home a sack or bucketful for use on their own gardens.

Paper products are given to the Rescue Mission, which sells them to help fund its charitable programs. Hogbin said the county doesn't sell the recyclables, but gives the materials to a Pennsylvania firm in exchange for having it hauled away for free.

"We do have a void in our program. We do not collect plastics of any kind," Hogbin said. He said the authority is trying to find a way to include plastic in the program.

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