By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Wood County may be cutting back on its satellite recycling sites, but may also be turning some of those monthly sites into permanent drop-off locations.
There are currently 15 satellite recycling sites operated by the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. Many of them are open once a month, according to Amanda Gamby, environmental educator for the district. They are located in Bloomdale, Grand Rapids, Jackson Township/Hoytville, Jerry City/Cygnet, Milton Township/Custar, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Perry Township, Perrysburg Township, Portage, Portage Township, Rudolph, Stony Ridge, Tontogany/Washington Township, and Weston.
A survey conducted in 2015, through a partnership between the solid waste district and Bowling Green State University master’s of public administration program, was conducted to determine the interest in recycling among rural Wood County residents.
A total of 2,725 surveys were mailed to rural resident, with 683 being returned. The study found:
- Rural residents had a favorable attitude toward recycling.
- A number of the residents said they drive to Hancock and Lucas counties to use permanent recycling facilities.
- Of those who use the satellite locations, 55 percent said they would increase their use beyond once a month if permanent sites were made available.
As it is now, mobile containers are placed at each of the satellite locations so residents can drop off their recyclables once a month. The recyclables are separated at most of the sites by Scouts or other community groups. Those groups are paid a per capita allocation that adds up to roughly $127,000 a year, according to Kelly O’Boyle, assistant Wood County administrator.
The satellite site program contracts with the Bowling Green Recycling Center to maintain the locations and transport the materials to the BG site. The contract is $86,400 for the year and expires at the end of this year.
Due to the survey results, the solid waste district is considering shuttering some of the sites, and making others permanent. The hope is that recycling may be more attractive to some rural residents since they won’t have to store recyclabes in their house or garage for a month in between drop-off times.
The four locations currently being suggested as pilot study for permanent sites are Tontogany/Washington Township, Milton Township/Custar, Pemberville, and Portage Township.
Still needing to be discussed are further details such as the location of the sites, who maintains them, adequate lighting for safety during early morning and night usage, cameras to catch contamination or illegal dumping, new role for Scouts and other groups, and future of per capita allocations.
The recommendations on the satellite sites will be discussed on Aug. 14 during a meeting of the solid waste management district board.