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Charleston recycling study reveals cost dilemma

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The recycling rate in Charleston is well below the national average, but the slumping market and climbing cost of transportation makes some city officials hesitant to encourage more residents to do so.

The findings of a recycling participation study conducted late last year presents a catch-22; the more people recycle, the more the city must pay to process it.

The Charleston Public Works Department led the five-week study that tracked how many customers recycle, how much is collected and the estimated cost to the city for driving recyclables to the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority in Beckley.

The study found that less than 20 percent of the nearly 18,500 customers surveyed among four pick-up routes participate in curbside recycling. The national average is 34 percent.

 Councilman Ed Talkington, who chairs City Council’s Committee on Environment and Recycling, called the local figures “unfortunate.”

“Of course, the other side of that is if we had more participation, it would be costing us more…

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