Recycling is in crisis in Morgan County and across the country.
Earlier this year, the Charles R. Biggs Recycling Center in Morgan County decided that it could no longer take glass – forcing many local residents to take their glass to the recycling center in neighboring Berkeley County or to just trash it.
“Recycling right now is going through a crisis all across the country,” Margaret Gordon of the Morgan County Solid Waste Authority told Russell Mokhiber of This Week in Morgan County. “The first product that got hit was glass. But there are a lot of changes that are coming locally.”
“China decided they were not going to take our garbage anymore,” Gordon said. “Many recycled products were contaminated, were not clean, particularly plastic.”
But Berkeley County still takes glass and Morgan County does not. Why is that?
“Berkeley County has a bigger tax base and more money to be able to process products that we don’t have,” Gordon said. “In Morgan County, we do not break even at the recycling center. But you can’t look at recycling based on profit. You have to look at it based on value to the world.”
Southern Scrap used to come and haul the glass, plastic and paper away from the recycling center. But no longer.
“The owner of Southern Scrap came to our April board meeting and told us that Southern Scrap is going out of business as of the end of December 2019 and they would stop taking glass as of July 15, 2019,” Gordon said.
Why can Berkeley County take glass and Morgan County not?
“My understanding is they take it to a different place and they have the money to pay to higher costs,” Gordon said. “We all feel terrible about not taking glass. At this point, the focus has got to be keeping recycling going totally as opposed to stopping.”
Gordon says that the recycling center is still taking plastics – number 1 and number 2 – paper and aluminum cans and metal.
“We break even on plastic,” Gordon said. “We make a couple of thousands of dollars a year on paper and cardboard. Aluminum cans and metal – we make three to four thousand dollars a year on that.”
The Morgan County Solid Waste Authority meets the second Tuesday of every month at 4 pm at the Episcopal Church. “We would love people to come and get involved,” Gordon said.
Gordon’s father Charles R. Biggs started the recycling center in Morgan County.
“I’m so proud of him. My mom and dad moved here in 1992. Within a couple of years, my dad got the authority going and started getting recycling going in the county. He would pull a truck behind his truck, take it to Widmyer parking lot, Great Cacapon and Paw Paw on Saturday each month and encourage people to bring recyclables and then he would take it to Martinsburg.”
“Daddy was a civil engineer and recycling and environmental issues were his passion.”