The limited number of Cocolamus Creek Disposal (CCD) recycling bags to purchase in stores is leaving many Perry County residents concerned and demanding a solution.
In the beginning of 2022, CCD of McAlisterville, a trash disposal company that serves many areas of Perry County, reduced the number of its green recycling bags due to people not utilizing them for their intended use.
CCD discovered that people were purchasing the recycling bags, which were 50 cents cheaper than the regular orange garbage bags, and were putting cat litter, diapers, trash and other contaminants in the bags mixed with the plastic and recyclables. CCD employees had to sift through the bags and remove all the unnecessary trash.
As a result, CCD raised the price of the recycling bags from $2.75 to $4 per bag.They are distributing five or less bags to stores at a time. They also stopped curbside pick-up for recycling.
The changes are leaving many residents, especially those who are environmentally conscious, very frustrated. They question if they can continue recycling.
Watershed Specialist and Recycling Coordinator Kristie Smith with the Perry County Conservation District, pointed out that recycling is an act of stewardship and about protecting the environment.
“If a decision has been made to recycle, it should be done with a purposeful intent to act in stewardship of our natural resources,” said Smith.
She encourages people to be more mindful of how they recycle and to place only accepted recyclable items that are free of food and debris inside recycling bags and bins.
“Otherwise, the items are deemed contaminated; the efforts have been in vain, and those materials go straight to the landfill. Putting them in a bag or a bin labeled as ‘recycling’ does not simply make it so,” Smith said. “My goal is to connect people with resources, and the current atmosphere surrounding recycling is difficult due to many factors.”
CCD did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Amy Rickert of Elliottsburg is one of many concerned Perry County residents who are frustrated with CCD and the recycling bag shortage.
“There’s no option for us anymore,” said Rickert. “If these companies aren’t doing anything, then we need to find new ones.”
Rickert had also spoken to Smith, who explained that there are major fluctuations with global markets concerning recycling right now because some are not taking plastic.
“We can’t be the only small county separated from this,” Rickert said. “If people don’t see how this is ruining the Earth, then they need to look around.”
Rickert also mentioned how CCD started to limit the materials and items one could recycle a few years back; it is no longer accepting glass items.
“There was just no communication from CCD either when all this happened back in March, which is what is the most frustrating to me,” said Rickert.
Rickert had pitched the idea of placing blue recycling bins in a common area for everyone in the county to utilize and recycle on their own, similar to Halifax, as a possible solution. She also mentioned that there are recycling options in Dauphin and Cumberland counties, but most people will not want to drive out of their way just to recycle.
“If you don’t want to recycle, that’s fine. But others shouldn’t ruin it for the people who want to make a difference,” Rickert said.
Perry County Commissioner Gary Eby acknowledged that recycling is a problem in the county and has been talking with Smith about the matter.
At the New Bloomfield Borough meeting on Aug. 2, council members approved of a new recycling program that Mayor Ed Albright has been working on for months. Albright said it will run like Wheatfield Twp.’s program. Recycling will take place the first Saturday of the month from 8-11 a.m. at the borough shed, 250 Barnett Woods Road. Sylvester’s Services of Duncannon will then pick up the recycling and take it to a collection center.
The program is open only to residents of the borough, who must show identification containing their home address as proof of residence. Cameras are installed on the premises to make sure people are abiding by the rules and not trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted.
Albright is positive about the program. “We want to make it a place for people in the borough to recycle, and it will not cost them anything.”
As the mayor, Albright said he has heard a lot of frustration from residents about the recycling situation. He thinks this program may be a step in the right direction for the borough.
“For a while, the town wasn’t looking the best. People were putting bags alongside the streets on Mondays and they wouldn’t get picked up until Thursday,” Albright said. “I actually cleaned up the bags and I’m happy with how the town looks now and would like to keep it that way.”
The program is expected to start the first Saturday in October. It will be run by volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering may call the borough for more information at 717-582-8888.
The Bloomfield program will accept newspapers, magazines, cardboard, plastic, bimetal cans, glass bottles and aluminum. The containers, bottles and recyclable items have to be clean and non-contaminated. Aluminum cans have to be rinsed and crushed. If people abuse the program and do not follow guidelines, the borough will shut it down, Albright said.
Duncannon Borough and Penn Twp. also have a recycling program that runs the second Saturday of each month from 8-11 a.m. by the Boy Scouts for curbside pick-up. Identification is also required.
Local recycling options in the county are available. Many grocery stores recycle plastic bags. Mahantango Enterprises of Liverpool recycles tires. Raven Recycling on Sleepy Hollow Road in Carroll Twp. takes scrap metal, along with Bulldog Motors, Landisburg. Rohrer Bus, Smith’s Farm Equipment, Maguire’s Ford and Blain Tire and Auto all accept used, clean oil. Oil cannot be contaminated or dirty. Goodwill in Newport and most thrift stores will take used computers and electronics.
For more information on township recycling and other recycling alternatives, visit perryco.org.
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