Sorting out recycling

Members of the community can utilize the Mercer County Solid Waste Authority’s Recycling Bins located near at the Mercer County Landfill.

PRINCETON — Dropping off cardboard, plastics and other recycling materials became a routine in 2020 for many residents, so the Mercer County Commission is seeking to expand the county’s recycling program with a new worker and a new truck.

A collection trailer is currently towed to different locations throughout the county to make recycling more convenient, but the program has expanded to the point where more personnel and a new vehicle are needed.

County Administrator Vicky Reed said that the Mercer County Commission was planning to apply for a West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection grant so an additional person can be hired for the recycling program. The grant could also help pay for another truck.

Reed did not know how large of a grant the county would apply for. “We don’t know the dollar amount yet,” she said. “As soon as we get the application, we’ll get quotes on another truck... and see about the salary it would take to hire another person.”

Recycling Coordinator Steve Cline has been operating the county program.

“Steve, he is such a great worker,” Reed said. “And everybody likes him. He’s made the program grow double, even triple, since he started.”

Cline was on vacation during the holidays and was unavailable for comment.

“If we can get another bin, it opens up more opportunities for recycling in our communities,” County Commissioner Greg Puckett said.

Holiday gift giving and the large amounts of cardboard and plastics it generates means that there are plenty of materials to recycle, he stated. Cardboard is one of the most sought after.

“It is the most valuable,” Puckett said. “Cardboard is always the best. But we also understand it’s more than just recycling. It’s about proper disposal. If we can teach the value of recycling, we are teaching proper disposal.”

Open dumps are still a program in the county, he added.

“Things that are discarded now, we will have to clean up later during our Keep Mercer Clean campaign,” Puckett said.

Materials can be dropped off at the recycling center on the Mercer County Landfill, too. Bins placed at the center’s front door allow visitors to drop off their recycling materials and leave. Puckett did not have collection figures immediately available, but said that 2020 had been “a fairly record year.”

“I think people know that recycling is available and they will find where the truck is and be able to drop things in on a regular schedule,” he said “I want to commend the Solid Waste Authority. Eli Testerman has done an exceptional job managing the landfill. They’ve got a great sorting system. It’s been a work in progress, but progress is a good thing.”

The recycling program accepts clean aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, newspapers and Number 1 and Number 2 plastic.

The recycling trailer will be in Bramwell Jan. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon and at Big Lots in Princeton from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that same day. It will be at the Sun Valley Ruritan Jan. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Recycling materials can also be dropped off Jan. 6 at the Pisgah Community Church from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another stop will be Jan. 7 at Glenwood Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Jan. 8 at the Oakvale Ruritan from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

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