Finding support for recycling facility
The meeting will be at YSU's Kilcawley Center.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County's Materials Recovery Facility Committee has invited neighboring counties to attend a September workshop to see if support exists to build a facility to handle recyclable products.
James Petuch, director of the county's Reuse & amp; Recycling Division, said Thursday the MRF committee wants solid waste mangers from Trumbull, Geauga and Columbiana counties in Ohio and Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania to attend and gather information from them about a materials recovery facility (MRF).
The MRF committee believes a facility could generate millions in revenue and provide jobs.
The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 14 at Youngstown State University's Kilcawley Center. Petuch said YSU was selected because the university is "a big player" in boosting recycling.
Petuch said the workshop will help determine what counties would support a Mahoning County facility.
"We would ask them if they want to be partners with us or if they would then send their recyclables our way," Petuch said.
Petuch said the MRF will be placed in the county's updated five-year solid waste plan that must be approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
He has said the county must increase its recyclable tonnage to justify building a facility. He said the county's recycling rate is about 10 1/2 percent or about 7,000 tons a year. The state-mandated rate is 25 percent.
Petuch said that at least 13,000 tons would be needed for a MRF.
"If we could get commitments [from the other counties] to send their recyclables here, we really could have something," Petuch said.
Realistically, the county's MRF committee isn't looking for such a facility to be built until at least 2008. Petuch said in most cases, it takes about five years of planning for a MRF.
Petuch added that the chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' recycling division also will be invited to the September session.
Petuch said the committee is interested in looking for grants and other funding to build the facility, and the ODNR could help the committee learn how to go about securing grants.
The Coalition of City Council Presidents has promoted establishing a training center for recycling technicians and building a MRF somewhere along the 1,400 acres of brownfield land left from abandoned steel mills and other manufacturing plants along the Mahoning River corridor that goes from Youngstown to Lowellville.
The coalition -- consisting of Struthers Council President Robert Carcelli, Youngstown Council President James E. Fortune Sr., and Campbell Council President Bob Yankle -- was formed to spur economic development throughout the Mahoning Valley, specifically along the corridor.