Collecting recyclables

Recycling Coordinator Rick Cline ties up bags of recyclable trash before loading it up into the recycle trailer at Glenwood Park.  A new recycling trailer was added to the pick up schedule in downtown Princeton on Fridays.

PRINCETON — Though this year’s Keep Mercer Clean campaign has ended, the recycling initiative in Princeton doesn’t stop there.

On every Monday from 1 to 3 p.m., guests are welcome to bring their unwanted paper, aluminum cans, cardboard, and No. 1 and No. 2 plastics to the recycling trailer. The trailer will be set up in the Mercer Street Grassroots District during this time to aid in the clean-up.

With this year’s Keep Mercer Clean campaign collecting a whopping 20,000 pounds of trash in the first two weeks of the clean-up, according to a previous statement from the Litter Control Officer, Josh Park, the need for recycling is ever-present.

Aside from taking away from the natural beauty of the state, litter also harms West Virginia’s wildlife. According to the World Animal Foundation, litter can be life or death for animals. Items such as broken glass or metal cans can cause fatal lacerations to animals in search of any leftover contents.

“Litter is not only unsightly but often times it is truly harmful. As humans, we discard our waste way too freely and many times this ends up not only polluting our streams and waterways but damaging the entire ecosystem,” Mercer County Commission Greg Puckett said.

Cigarettes, which are also frequently thrown out as litter, also pose a very harmful risk to animals. These nicotine remnants clutter the sides of roadways, creek banks, and more, which are prime real estate for hungry animals in search of a snack. If ingested the toxins and chemicals can cause gastrointestinal distress, according to the World Animal Foundation.

“Locally, cigarette butts are the number one problems for the environment. Our birds use the toxic laced filters (often containing dozens of carcinogens) to build their nests,” Puckett said, “Styrofoam cups and plastic lids choke out deer looking for a quick bite to eat. Tires litter our hillsides, creating breeding grounds of mosquitoes that can carry diseases, and even something symbolic like balloons can travel hundreds of miles and cause lots of damage.”

With people throwing items out of the vehicle windows as they drive this lures the curious critters near roadways with the aromas. This then, in turn, creates the perfect scenario for these animals to be struck by vehicles and then succumbing to their wounds.

In an article by the World Animal Foundation, it states that aquatic animals suffer the most because of litter. Fish and other animals often suffer strangulation due to plastics such as improperly disposed of fishing line and various other plastic items filling the waterways.

“As part of the Keep Mercer Clean campaign, even though we aren’t in our peak time, we remind everyone to recycle often, be responsible, and teach our children that we must be respectful of our environment, for all of us. Love where you live and keep Mercer Clean,” Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at