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State grant will pay for Armstrong recycling center upgrade

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 1:11 a.m.
 

A state grant will help upgrade equipment at the Armstrong County Recycling Center on Armsdale Road, Rayburn, this summer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded the county a $66,844 grant to upgrade the county-owned center's security and conveyor belt systems and purchase a cross-cut document shredder, said Sally Conklin, Armstrong County planning and recycling coordinator.

County officials plan to buy a shorter conveyor belt system to take plastic, paper and cardboard materials into balers, which compress materials, before sending them to be processed. The shorter belts will give officials more room to store recyclables, Conklin said.

The grant includes funding to conduct a public education program through advertisements in newspapers, on recycling trailers and on Town and Country buses.

“Our goal is just to create public awareness of what we do, and what we can and cannot recycle,” Conklin said.

Last year, the center processed 1,204 tons of recyclables, with cardboard accounting for about 40 percent of all material, Conklin said.

The center, which is closed Sundays and Mondays, accepts glass and plastic bottles, jugs and jars, office paper, corrugated cardboard, newspaper, and bi-metal and aluminum cans. The county stations 10 recycling trailers throughout the county and operates four roving recycling centers.

It's not uncommon for people to leave more than recyclables at the center's trailers, Conklin said.

“We have issues with people illegally dumping things like lawn furniture and large toys at our trailer sites, which we hope to address with our educational program,” Conklin said. “A lot of these items are too big to fit into our bins, so they're just left outside or jammed in, so things overflow and create a litter problem.”

The county plans to advertise what items should and should not be left for the recycling center, she said.

The Armstrong County Recycling Center is the sole recycling firm in the county, Conklin said. The other is the Leechburg recycling plant.

Dave Battaglia, chairman of the Armstrong County Commissioners, said the facility is used by a steady stream of county residents, making it a county and community asset.

“Anytime we can upgrade our recycling facilities and technology without dipping into county revenues is a good thing, especially at our recycling center,” Battaglia said. “On any given day, the amount of traffic at the recycling center is pretty extensive.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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