NEW MANCHESTER - A new infusion of state funding will ensure that Hancock County's recycling center will stay open six days a week, Site Manager Rob Mark said.
"We've grown substantially in three years," Mark said, "with support from our customers, the county commission, a conscientious board chairman and members, and state programs."
The recycling center, whose full name is the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority Recycling and Convenience Center, recently received a grant of $25,000 from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to help especially with labor costs, Mark said.
Hancock County Recycling and Convenience Center Site Manager Rob Mark empties a container of recyclables from a customer on Thursday afternoon. -- Stephen Huba
"It's important to have someone here (during business hours)," he said.
The Recycling Assistance Grant comes from the department's Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan program. This is Hancock County's third REAP grant, which is funded through a $1-per-ton assessment on in-state landfill solid waste.
Mark said the increased hours at the Gas Valley Road facility are supported by a steady growth in customer traffic since the recycling center opened in December 2010. The customer count for 2013 grew by 30 percent from the previous year - from 5,606 to an estimated 7,300, he said.
Mark attributes the growth to the fact that more Hancock County residents are learning about the center, the hours of operation have increased, and a wide variety of items are accepted for recycling and disposal.
"I don't know of anybody else in West Virginia who accepts everything that we do," he said.
Chuck and Enid Gardner, of Chester, are regular customers of the recycling center, bringing newspapers, plastics, cardboard and shredded paper on a weekly basis.
Pat Wagoner, of New Manchester, brings newspapers, plastics, cardboard, glass and cans. "I come probably once a month. Thank God for it," she said.
If Wagoner brings the two TVs she wants to get rid of, she'll have to pay a fee of $5 for anything less than 24 inches and $10 for anything more than 24 inches.
With the exception of tires, which carry a fee of $1.50 each, there is no charge for recyclables. Use of the center is limited to Hancock County residents who can show a garbage collection bill upon arrival.
The recycling center opened in 2010 with Saturday hours only. Previously, Hancock County held a semiannual countywide cleanup day at Tomlinson Run State Park.
Activity at the center picked up rapidly in 2011, so much so that, by September 2012, the center expanded its hours to six days a week. The center currently is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and holidays.
(Huba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)