Scouts help Franklin County set a waste recycling record

April 04, 2001

Scouts help Franklin County set a waste recycling record

By DON AINES / Staff Writer

Washington Township and Boy Scout Troop 128 in Chambersburg, Pa., were honored by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday for helping Franklin County set a recycling record of nearly 24 percent of municipal waste in 2000.

The recycling rate increased from 20.6 percent in 1999 to 23.7 percent last year, according to County Senior Planner Sherri Clayton.

The tonnage recycled increased from 14,356 tons to 16,194, while the amount of local waste going into two local landfills declined from 69,757 tons to 68,438.

When Pennsylvania began mandatory recycling programs in 1990, the legislation set an eventual goal of 25 percent for counties, according to Clayton. Recycling began that year with four curbside programs in Chambersburg and Waynesboro and Greene and Guilford Townships. There now are curbside or drop-off recycling programs for every municipality in the county, she said.


The Washington Township Transfer Station and Recycling Center has been a big part of the recycling program in the county, according to Clayton. "They accept materials from all our curbside programs," Clayton said.

"Everything that's picked up by Waste Management for recycling is taken to the transfer station for processing and marketing from there," Clayton said.

The township previously won a Waste Watcher Recognition Award, co-sponsored by the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, in 1997 and has more than doubled the amount of materials it recycles annually since then, she said.

More than 46 percent of the materials taken to the transfer station were recycled last year, according to Township Manager Michael Christopher.

In 2000 that came to 3,523 tons of glass, aluminum, steel, newspaper, plastics, tires, cardboard, yard waste and other materials, according to county figures. Of the amount received for recycling, 153 tons - or 4.3 percent - was disposed of as residue that could not be recycled.

"We're not making any money right now on recycling, but we're working hard to do that," Christopher said. The market for recyclable materials is soft now, but fees for other trash help balance the costs of recycling, he said.

In addition to township employees, a mixture of volunteers and people sentenced to community service help defray labor costs at the recycling center, Christopher said. Much of the recycling is automated, thanks to a $1 million upgrade to the plant about four years ago. Christopher said 90 percent of the project was state-funded.

"We are now at just about 3,000 tons of newspapers," Troop 128 Scoutmaster Paul Holbrook said Tuesday. The scouts have been collecting and delivering old newspapers to area farmers for livestock bedding since 1987, he said.

"We have five farmers that we deliver to ... Right now we're receiving $20 a ton," said Holbrook, the scoutmaster since 1983.

When the troop began recycling in 1987, it collected just 300 pounds of newspapers. Last year the figure was 325 tons, he said.

About half of the newspapers collected each year are used by farmer Lowell Peckman of St. Thomas, Pa., according to Holbrook.

Over the past 14 years, the troop has collected another 25,000 pounds of aluminum, including 2,957 pounds last year, according to county figures. The numbers of newspapers not going into landfills now totals several million, and the troop has collected the equivalent of about 600,000 aluminum cans.

"With the money we finance an all-expenses-paid trip in the spring or summer for the scouts," Holbrook said.

He said all 28 scouts contribute their labor to qualify for the trip, which this year will include tours of Civil War battlefields, the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., and King's Dominion amusement park.

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