FREMONT - More than 500,000 pounds of recyclable materials have been collected during the first six weeks of a new recycling drop-off program for rural areas in Seneca, Sandusky and Ottawa counties.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony and program update Thursday morning at the Ottawa-Sandusky-Seneca Joint Solid Waste District office in Fremont, Myrtle the Turtle and Binny held signs that read "533,012."
"That's the number of pounds that we have recycled (through the new program) as of yesterday," said Tim Wasserman, OSS director.
The program's "Aim to be Green" logo was created by Jamie Coleman, community outreach specialist, and the office staff chose Thursday for the program's official opening in honor of American Recycles Day.
Since the program started Oct. 1, 137 8-yard containers have been placed at 41 sites in the three counties. In Seneca County, residents may find containers in at township offices in Adams, Big Spring, Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell, Jackson, Liberty, Loudon, Pleasant, Reed, Scipio and Thompson, as well as a site for the village of Attica and Venice Township and Clinton Township fire station 2.
"We really haven't had any major issues," Wasserman said. "We actually had people call and say they like the program."
Accepted materials are aluminum, cardboard, magazines, office paper, plastics, cartons, glass bottles, newspaper, paperboard and steel cans.
Residents can drop off recyclable materials seven days a week during daylight hours, and materials no longer need to be separated. Guidelines can be found at the collection points.
Weights of dropped-off materials are recorded daily.
Tim Lynch, Liberty Township trustee and president of the Seneca County Township Association, said Liberty has been involved in recycling since the 1980s. He said the township used to struggle with finding places that would accept the collected materials.
"The residents took to recycling like a kid to candy," he said.
He said it's good to have a program in place so they know where the materials are going.
Liberty Township road superintendent Rick Brickner, who also works with the township's recycling program, said there have been no problems with the system.
"The hardest part has been telling people they can bring it all in together," Brickner said. "They don't have to separate it."
The township also has continued its drop-off days on the second and fourth Tuesdays.
One of the benefits of the new system is its uniformity across the three counties, Wasserman said. The office staff no longer has to look up specific information for each program when a resident calls.
Recyclables are taken to Rumpke Recycling's Columbus materials recovery facility, the largest processor in the Ohio and one of the largest in the Midwest.
The facility handles 700 million pounds of recyclables each year, or 60,000 pounds per hour.
After the ceremony, visitors could watch a video of how recyclable materials enter the plant at one end and are separated by machine before coming out in bundles of like materials. A video also can be viewed on the Rumpke website, www.rumpkerecycling.com.
For more information on recycling, visit www.recycleoss.net or call (419) 334-7222 or (888) 850-7224.