Recycling is alive and well in the Marietta area. And so it should be since several options are available. City residents have curbside recycling collection; Marietta Area Recycling Center (MARC) at 915 Gilman (the volunteer-staffed community drop-off center) is never closed; the center on Colegate (at former county garage) is open during business hours; and county residents have access to trailers that visit various communities for varying lengths of time.
Each of these programs is totally separate from the others so it is important to find out what materials the site you select can accept because each is slightly different. If something is left that center cannot take, it is considered dumping and surely no one wants to be guilty of that.
Having options is important because if we can stop at a recycling location when on our way to work or church or a meeting, we are not using extra gasoline.
From the level of recycling that is occurring, it is clear that local residents understand the importance of recycling - that it saves energy, natural resources, protects air and water, and prolongs the lives of landfills. The latter becomes more relevant when it gets closer to the time to find a new location for a landfill but it is something to be aware of nonetheless.
Before we puff up too much from pride, the last number I have heard is that we are recycling between 20 and 25 percent of our solid waste. California (the entire state) expects to be recycling 75 percent in just a few years. Various governmental agencies have to be involved to get even close to this number and there does not seem to be that kind of interest in Ohio or even Southeastern Ohio at this time - too bad.
When MARC opened in March of 1976, the mission was to accept any material for which we could find a viable outlet. Several efforts to recycle plastic milk jugs were attempted but it was not sustainable. The log jam broke when Mondo Polymer Technologies was able to manufacture products with a mix of plastic resins: Polyethylene, high and low density polyethylene, and polypropylene. Volunteers can sort any mix (that is the importance of the numbers in the chasing arrow-triangle on the bottom of most containers - No. 1, 2 4, and 5 are acceptable as are plastic bags) but there is only one compactor so it is important that they can all be mixed. Because this mix of plastics is sent to Mondo Polymers (local plastics for local jobs!) MARC is able to accept plastics other local programs do not.
Anyone with questions about the materials that can be recycled at 915 Gilman Ave. may either ask a volunteer or pick up a brochure from information box near the donation tube.
The Marietta Area Recycling Center is still functioning because of dedicated volunteers and recyclers who are willing to support it financially. Even with volunteers, there are costs involved. Rent and other monthly expenses add up to about $833. while donations in the donation tube (located under the large white sign below American flag) have ranged from a low of $281. (April 2012) to a high of $1345. (June 2012), the latter amount includes a check for $1000. from Gary and Sharon Frye - arrived which it was badly needed. Most months donations amount to about $400. so it is clear that even with payment for newspaper, we have run at a deficit during most months.
All donations are appreciated - some are giving as much as they can and they make our day. If you haven't made a stop at the donation tube part of your visit to the center, please consider doing so.
In January 2012, Lisa Jackson, director of USEPA, summed it up: "If we would insist on a recycling rate in our country at 80, 85, 90 percent, we would do a bunch of things. Certainly, we would have a cleaner environment. We would save a tremendous amount of water and energy. We would create millions of jobs because recycling, in and of itself, would become a supply chain in our country - a very domestic one. So, although it sounds simple - when you see those recycling bins, when people start to talk about recycling - think of it as a homegrown jobs program, an environmental program and an energy program and a water program all in one."
Marilyn Ortt of 701 Colegate Drive, Marietta, is a member of the Marietta City Tree Commission. Our Earth appears on alternate weeks in the weekend edition.