The MRF needs to receive recyclables from nearby counties to be profitable.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The chairman of Mahoning County's Materials Recovery Facility Committee says the group needs a new name now that a private business owner has made a commitment to open such a business here.
The MRF committee will meet at 5 p.m. today to adopt a name that reflects its broadening scope, said Chairman Robert Carcelli of Struthers. Carcelli is a former Struthers City Council president.
Committee members also will invite neighboring counties to participate in the Mahoning County MRF, Carcelli said. Invitations will be extended to officials in Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania.
By pledging to send its materials to Mahoning County's MRF, other counties would become eligible to share in tipping fees that may be collected on materials brought from outside the area, Carcelli said.
Recyclable material that is collected in residential areas are taken to MRFs to be sorted and prepared for market. Asia and China are good markets for recyclables; "China can't get enough plastic," said Jim Petuch, director of Mahoning County's recycling division.
There are at least 326 MRFs in the United States, including in the cities of Akron and Kent, according to the Web site of Curbside Value Partnership.
Mahoning County's recyclables currently are taken to Recycle Management Inc.'s MRF in Pittsburgh. The owner of Recycle Management will use his own money to build an MRF here, Petuch said. A location is still being sought.
The local MRF will start by collecting about 12,000 tons of recyclables per year. "To be profitable, you have to have a lot of tonnage -- more than 24,000 tons per year," Petuch said. That's why nearby counties will be solicited to participate.
An MRF near Cleveland receives material from 28 political subdivisions, Carcelli said, adding he believes a regional approach is needed here.
"I think it's going to be a big benefit not only for Mahoning County, but the Mahoning Valley," he said. A successful MRF could create many "recession- and depression-proof jobs" and lead to a companion recycling facility to collect discarded electronics, construction debris, old appliances and used batteries.
Eventually, Carcelli hopes Mahoning County will be home to a waste energy facility that will generate electricity by burning garbage that otherwise goes to landfills. That would create more jobs, lower people's electricity bills and clean up the environment.
"I'm not afraid to stand up to the plate and look at the big picture," Carcelli said. "A waste energy facility is the future."