Shenandoah County is keeping its recycling effort going while other localities are scrapping their programs.
Director of Public Services Patrick Felling said by phone last week that the county continues to accept all recyclable materials — paper and cardboard, glass and metals, among others — despite the declining market.
“Shenandoah County has actually been very fortunate in that we have not been affected seriously by the change in recycling markets globally,” Felling said. “As a matter of fact, all of the material that we have been collecting, we are still collecting and sending for recycling.
“We use a different recycling vendor than our neighbors do and that vendor has said that they’re going to stick with us during this tight time because we’ve been a longtime customer,” Felling added.
Shenandoah County contracts with the Baltimore-based Owl Corp. to recycle plastics, paper and cardboard — materials most negatively affected by changes in the global recycling markets. The county also sends some electronic products to Owl for processing.
Once the market turns around, Felling said the vendor likely hopes to again make a profit from recycling the material. “But I’m fairly certain they’re not making a profit now,” Felling said. “That is my assumption at this point given how bad the markets are and what else is happening to neighboring jurisdictions, and so the likelihood is either it is a matter of a company sticking with a longtime customer out of principle and/or the thought that they’re going to count on the market coming back and they want to keep a good customer.”
Shenandoah County collects ferrous metals that it sells to scrap companies, Felling said. The county also collects and bales aluminum.
“We send our materials to different places depending on where the best benefit is to the county,” Felling said.
The recycling vendor stopped collecting glass from the county years ago but the county started to grind the glass and use the material at the landfill.
“It becomes a useful product for us,” Felling said.
The department compiles a report on the recyclables collected at the landfill and the compactor sites, as well as the materials picked up by companies in towns. The report shows the following amounts of materials in collected in 2018:
• 13,625 tons of paper.
• 16,000 tons of metal.
• 322 tons of plastic.
• 2,829 tons of yard waste.
The county also collected tires, used oil and filters, inoperable motor vehicles, batteries and electronics, according to the report.