NEW CASTLE —
Shenango Township residents are recycling twenty times more materials than they did in 2008.
As a result, some will pay less for trash collection in 2014.
The township’s annual recycling increased from 29 tons in 2008 to 589 in 2012. This year, the township is averaging 50 tons per month, which would total 600 tons in 2013 if that rate continues.
Why the improvement? Apparently it was the 2010 change to a single-hauler program that provided residents with bins for curbside collection of recyclables.
Consultant Michele Nestor, president of Nestor Resources Inc., in Valencia, Pa., said the key is that the new hauler has made recycling easy for residents.
Nestor is the consultant the supervisors hired with a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant at the time to advise them on how to bring the township into compliance with the state recycling rules.
Republic Services submitted the successful bid and was awarded a five-year contract to become the township hauler.
A national hauler with several area locations, Republic provided every household with two bins, one for recyclables and one for trash. Recyclables are collected every two weeks. Previously, residents had small box-type bins, but recycling rates were poor.
“It’s human nature that once my bin is full, the rest of my recyclables go in the garbage,” Nestor pointed out.
She added recycling increases “when you make it easy.”
Brian Tanner, Shenango’s treasurer and municipal secretary, said the township is now the top recycler in the Lawrence/Mercer county region.
He said some residents were upset initially about the hauling change, but noted most are now paying less than they had before. There is also a bag system available for purchase at the township building.
Now the township is going to get $10,000 to $15,000 in Pennsylvania DEP Act 100 Section 904 grants for the years 2007 to 2010. The state had been holding back the funds until the township’s recycling rates improved.
The township also will receive an undetermined amount of grant funds for 2010 to 2012, years for which the township met state standards. The money is expected to be awarded annually as long as the township maintains an acceptable recycling rate.
Shenango Township Supervisor Larry Herman said the supervisors have decided to use 10 percent of the 904 grant money for recycling education and 90 percent to help pay the trash bills of low-income residents in 2014.
Section 8 housing low-to-moderate-income standards will be used to determine eligibility. In the future, assistance may be expanded to other residents, he said.
But until the state sends the money, officials won’t know exactly how much of a discount the low-income households will receive.
Residents also will have to apply to the township for the money, which will be paid directly to the hauler.
The award follows several years when the township failed to meet the state’s mandatory recycling standards. In fact, in 2000, the DEP threatened to withhold all state funds, including about $250,000 in state liquid fuels funds, from the township because the curbside tonnage being recycled did not meet the requirements for a municipality its size.
At that time, in addition to the curbside bins, county recycling bins were located at the municipal building. But recyclables collected in the county bins were not counted toward the township total.