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'Valet Day' scheduled at Ligonier recycling facility

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:02 p.m.

The future of the Ligonier Valley Recycling Program remains uncertain.

“As far as funding goes, we have enough to make it continue for the next six months and then that's it,” said Susan Huba, executive director of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, which oversees the program.

Ligonier Valley High School's Interact Club will try to muster support for the program on March 1 by holding the first Valet Day.

Students will unload and sort patrons' recyclables from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the recycling facility at along Old Route 30 West. Patrons can donate tips that will go toward the recycling program.

“It's basically a drive-up service,” Huba said.

The watershed association has managed the program since the late 1980s.

When the economy declined in 2008, recycling grew more costly. In 2010, the program closed for about a month, but a $15,000 grant from loyal recycler Betty Gamble revived it. The program is struggling to generate enough donations to cover about $19,200 in yearly operating expenses, according to Huba.

Rector resident Chrystal Welsh is helping to organize the valet event. She wanted to help in some way after learning about the program's dilemma in November.

“As a new resident of Ligonier, I was troubled by the headlines, so I approached (Huba) to find out if there was something I could do to help,” she said.

Huba suggested Walsh spearhead Valet Day, an idea previously submitted by a watershed association board member. Walsh then reached out to the Interact Club to gather volunteers from the community service group.

Club member Rachel Allison, 17, said she is interested in protecting the environment. Valet Day will offer a great opportunity to help members of the community and to decrease pollution, she said.

“I think we're given so many good things in this world, and it's a great way to give back,” she said.

Students will be collecting donations, but they are not required to take advantage of the service.

Anyone who donates a $10 tip will receive a green “Ligonier recycles” reusable tote bag as an incentive, Walsh said.

She hopes the event will motivate more residents to use the recycling program.

“I personally just try to recycle as much as possible,” Walsh said. “I strive to recycle so that it doesn't sit in a landfill for thousands of years.”

In the meantime, Huba said the association board is looking into additional sources of funding, along ways to cut recycling costs.

“There is a certain economic component to it that a lot of people don't realize,” she said. “Recycling is a great way to protect the environment and do conservation in their own homes, but there is still the element of paying for it and how to generate enough funds to keep a program like what we have here going.”

Aside from funding, Huba said help with maintaining the site would be appreciated.

“We would love for people to monitor the site and help clean up,” she said.

To contribute to the program, contact the Loyalhanna Watershed Association at 724-238-7560.

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