By Stephen Smoot
“A few idiots ruined it for everyone else,” Richard Barnett, executive director of the Harrison County Solid Waste Authority, said in explanation of why the organization had to remove the recycling trailer from the Price Cutter Parking Lot.
The trailer has served the needs of those trying to unload recyclable materials for 17 years, but accelerating damage and improper use have cost the taxpayers of Harrison County and forced its removal.
“Over the last six months to a year, things are getting worse,” Barnett said.
Part of the problem historically has been issues with individuals leaving unsorted bags of garbage at the trailer. Additionally, some who bring recyclable goods occasionally fail to place the materials inside of the trailer. Instead, they are left on the ground.
This fall, however, that waste was joined by a deer carcass. Also “just this week people vandalized it,” cutting brake lines and other expensive parts. “They did a lot of damage,” Barnett said.
The damage from the vandalism alone cost $1,100 damage, but dealing with materials that cannot be recycled has added to the bill over the years.
Barnett explained that the Solid Waste Authority has tried to use cameras and other tactics to discourage abuse of the privilege of using the trailer. “Nothing has ever worked,” he stated.
“It’s frustrating,” Barnett said, adding that “The entire service is free to citizens. For us it costs a couple of thousand dollars a month.”
And that is before costs related to damage and other abuses.
He also said that he recognizes that most individuals use the trailer properly, but the costs associated with keeping the trailer in place have gotten too high to continue offering the service.
Tory Drainer, interim city manager for Shinnston, noted that “they have to do what they have to do. If that happened to us, we’d do the same thing.”
Barnett advised that those who have questions may contact ESI for details.
Residents who wish to continue to recycle properly are encouraged to take those materials to the Harrison Recycling Center in Hepzibah.