Washington Township revamps refuse operations

January 13, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Washington Township, Pa., officials are refocusing on residents’ needs as they endeavor to keep the municipal refuse transfer station and recycling center off Pa. 16 profitable.

Unlike some facilities, Washington Township’s is unable to do single-stream recycling, in which things like cardboard, cans and plastic bottles are thrown into the same bins. Municipal officials determined single-stream recycling would be too labor-intensive without pricey capital purchases.

Because it doesn’t do single-stream recycling, Washington Township is no longer taking in materials from IESI, Waste Management and other commercial haulers. Township Manager Mike Christopher said the recycling center will instead be focused on the needs of residents, other individual drop-off customers, private contractors and municipalities like Chambersburg borough, for which it does recycling.

The Washington Township Recycling Center recycled 3,118 tons of material, including yard waste, in 2012.

Opened in 1996, the recycling center employs 10 people. The adjacent transfer station opened in 1969 and employs six people.

Materials are hauled from the transfer station to an IESI landfill. The fill pile there has been rearranged to be more friendly to individuals, Christopher said.

The township supervisors recently raised some transfer station fees. Now, rates range from $2.25 for small bags of trash to $80 a ton.

Recycling is free.

The township is seeking a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant funding for a new recycling baler. Christopher said the new machine, its installation and removal of the old baler could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The baler compresses and bales cans, plastics and other materials for transport, Christopher said.

Repairs to the existing baler contributed heartily to overruns in the recycling center’s repairs budget last year. Together, the recycling center and transfer station ended 2012 about $7,600 in the black, compared to $100,000 in 2011.

There have been cutbacks in state funding for operations like the one in Washington Township, Christopher said.

Washington Township’s facilities received state approval to be an electronics collection site. The municipality contracted with eLoop, a company that recycles things like computers and guarantees their hard drives are destroyed to protect personal information.

The recycling center always needs additional newspapers because the shredded newspaper is used by farmers for animal bedding, Christopher said.

The transfer station and recycling center are open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

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