Solid Waste Authority receives large REAP Grant

Suzette Lowe
Reporter

The Jackson County Solid Waste Authority dedicates itself to recycling materials in Jackson County. That job has become a little easier this year due to the organization receiving a grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

The 2021 Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) grant for $143,520 was awarded to the local solid waste authority to continue and enlarge its recycling efforts.

Rick Buckley, chair of the volunteer Solid Waste Authority Board, said that this is the largest grant the organization has ever received.

“We can usually count on a REAP grant each year,” he said. “To receive one this large will really enhance our efforts. It was a very welcome surprise.”

The grant monies will be used to add four collection trailers, ten cardboard collection bins, a pickup truck, fuel, maintenance, utilities and wages. There are currently one full-time and four part-time employees.

In the award letter, Niki Dolin, REAP Office Programs Supervisor, stated, “I would like to commend you and your achievements in creating a cleaner, more sustainable environment.”

In operation since 1995, the recycling program has continued to evolve.

A tire cleanup and county wide trash cleanup are conducted annually. Several collection sites are maintained throughout the county at Cottageville, Kenna, Ripley and Ravenswood. Each site has specific materials it accepts.

“During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to close our facilities,” Buckely said. “That was a difficult decision, but we’re now back open.”

Over two million pounds of materials are recycled in Jackson County each year. These materials are bailed at the Cottageville facility and sold to mills for processing. The funds received are used to support the program.

Buckley said that any recycling program is a community effort.

“That is certainly true in Jackson County,” he said. “We have support from so many including the County Commission, the cities of Ripley and Ravenswood, the citizens of Kenna who maintain that site, and Greg Simmons who donated private property there for a collection location.”

Praise was given to Jackson County citizens as well.

“So many of our people travel to these sites just to drop off their materials,” Buckley said. “We appreciate this so much. Local businesses such as Constellium and the Board of Education use our program for pickup instead of it going to a landfill somewhere.”

Members of the solid waste authority board are Buckley, John Gorrell, Gary Singleton, and Frank Young.

For information about the program, go to Jackson County Recycling Center on Facebook or call 304-532-2477.

Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan -

The JCoSWA is a five member volunteer Board that oversees the County Recycle Program, conducts an annual tire cleanup and Countywide trash cleanup (except during COVID), performs litter control efforts, responsible for maintenance of the permitted but closed county landfill site, prepares grant applications to help support these activities, approval of applications for siting waste facilities in the County, prepares and updates every 5 years the County “Comprehensive Litter and Solid Waste Control Plan” and a “Commercial Solid Waste Facility Siting Plan,” among other things. Present Board members include: Rick Buckley (Chairman) - PSC appointee, John Gorrell (Vice-Chair) - County Commission appointee, Gary Singleton - Western Soil Conservation District Appointee, and Frank Young - County Commission Appointee.

The Board presently has one vacant position (the WVDEP appointee). The JCoSWA currently employs one full-time and four part-time employees that are the backbone of maintaining the County Recycle Program. They include: Tim Barnett, Josh Stone, Raymond Young, and Charlene Barnett. Julia Pitts is the JCoSWA Treasure/Secretary.

The County-wide Recycle Program has been operating and evolving since 1995. Additionally, the JCoSWA Recycle Program could not exist without support from the Jackson County Commission, the City of Ripley (donating their used packer trucks and space for a collection site), the City of Ravenswood (providing a collection site), local businessman Greg Simmons (donating his private property in Kenna for a drop off location) - also the community of Kenna that maintains the Kenna site, the Constellium Aluminum Manufacturing Plant, the Jackson County School Board and the many other County businesses that set materials aside to be picked up and recycled rather than landfilled, and the dedicated County residents that transport materials to the various County drop off locations. For all these efforts, more than 2,000,000 pounds of materials are recycled annually from Jackson County and that amount continues to increase.

The recycled materials are bailed at the JCoSWA Cottageville facility and then sold to mills for processing. All funds received from the sale of processed recycle materials are used to maintain the County Recycle Program, along with grant funds received and other local financial support. The JCoSWA receives an annual audit of its financial records.