Cumberland Times-News

January 3, 2011

Students play key role in Mineral recycling efforts

Emily Newman
Cumberland Times-News

— KEYSER, W.Va. — Despite a lack of funding, officials and residents in Mineral County are making every effort to build strong recycling and litter control programs.

Janice LaRue, county commissioner and facilitator of the Mineral County Litter Control/Recycling Task Force, said that the biggest difference is being made in the schools, specifically Keyser and Frankfort high schools.

“It’s such a slow process. ... I just wish we could leap right into it,” said LaRue.

Both Keyser and Frankfort have six large recycling receptacles inside the school and six smaller trash cans placed around the hallways for the students to use. Those items were given to the schools in a grant from the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan recycling program, which is part of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Along with the smaller receptacles, Bill Hood of United Disposal Inc. contributed the large community recycling containers at Keyser High School and at the community swimming pool.

“It’s a wonderful initiative on the part of both of the schools,” said Wayne Spiggle, outgoing commissioner and original creator of the task force.

LaRue said Hood’s United Disposal market does not include Frankfort, but that he has also applied for a grant from the Solid Waste Management Board to be able to place containers there. There are also plans being made to place recycling bins at Keyser Primary Middle School.

According to REAP’s website, in 2010, the city of Keyser received the West Virginia Make It Shine Clean Community Award, presented by the state Make It Shine Program. LaRue said that to qualify, the city must answer a series of approximately 16 questions. Because the application covered programs in all the categories, including cleanup, recycling, youth participation and beautification, the city received two road signs that identifies it as a clean community.

In addition to the recycling units, both schools have created environmentally friendly organizations. Frankfort’s Green Team, run by John Ritchie, focuses on recycling, while Keyser’s Going Green group, led by Tabitha Woy, works more toward combatting litter. Part of the clubs’ activities, said LaRue, is a program where students walk around the streets and pick up the litter.

Neither Ritchie nor Woy was available for comment.

“Recycling is something that should almost be inherent. I am just so happy that our students lead the way for the county,” said Skip Hackworth, superintendent of Mineral County schools. “It is really gratifying to see our students take the lead in the effort.”

LaRue praised both Ritchie and Woy for their hard work.

“They are go-getters. ... They’ve put in a lot of time and hours beyond what is required,” said LaRue.

The last two years, both Keyser and Frankfort have competed in a phone book collection drive. The first year, Frankfort won by collecting the most phone books to be recycled, and this past year, Keyser collected the most. Prizes were donated by Alliant Techsystems and NewPage Corp.

To help aid the schools in their efforts, the commissioners donated to both schools.

“The county commissioners gave $1,000 to each school to build a shed for their recycling materials,” said LaRue.

LaRue said the Region 8 Planning and Development Council is the only council in West Virginia that is made up of more than one county. Region 8 serves Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral and Pendleton and therefore is the only regional solid waste board in the state.

“Right now we’re going through different things in Region 8,”said LaRue.

There are no state or county-wide requirements for recycling collection in West Virginia or Mineral County; however, there is a law requiring that all trash be disposed of by either garbage pickup or dropped off by the owner.

Emily Newman can be contacted by enewman@times-news.com.