May 2005

Akron hazardous waste recycling centers to commence operations

Summit County’s successful household hazardous waste recycling center is being used as a model for two similar ventures nearby, according to recent reports.

In South Akron, officials have approved an entrepreneur’s plans to set up a facility to collect hazardous waste from commercial sources.

How easy was it for Jeff White to convince local officials to let him site a hazardous waste recycling facility?

“It’s like we were trying to push an elephant up a greased hill,” White said in a February 7, 2005, Akron Beacon Journal article.

But times change and now White may soon be able to build not just one, but two new hazardous waste recycling facilities in northeast Ohio.

According to the story by Beacon Journal staff writer Bob Downing, two municipalities rejected White’s plans. Then South Akron approved the idea and White expects to be doing business under the name BizMat by the end of Spring. Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland is considering siting a second BizMat facility there.

Closely patterned after Summit County’s successful household hazardous waste recycling center in Stow, BizMat is designed to handle small amounts of hazardous material from small generators such as cleaning materials, paints, stains and shellacs, machine and motor oils, fertilizers, pesticides, computers, some batteries and fluorescent bulbs. Under its state permit, the facility is supposed to recycle at least 60 percent of incoming materials.

Supported with nearly $900,000 in grants from federal, state and local government and private institutions, BizMat can charge companies far less than the current going rate for the service. The idea is to help prevent environmental problems by removing some of the economic incentive to improperly dispose of hazardous waste.

Summit County’s model is also being applied to a new household hazardous waste facility being built outside Warren by the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District.

There, officials with the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District were trying to dispel public concerns about a household hazardous waste (HHW) recycling facility even as the facility is being built, according to an article in the February 21, 2005, issue of the Youngstown Vindicator.

Bob Villers, director of the district, said their plans also are modeled after the Summit Count facility.

In the article, he addressed several questions that have been raised about the facility:

The facility will only take household waste such as paints, pesticides, oils, antifreeze and cleaners — not explosives, ammunition, medical waste or even microwaves and TVs. It will not accept waste from commercial or industrial generators. Nothing will be stored long-term on site. No material will be shipped into the site by rail. The facility will only accept waste from residents of Geauga and Trumbull counties.

The facility on U.S. 422 should be open for operations in July. Villers plans to move his staff from their existing space in the Trumbull County Board of Elections building in Warren to the new facility. The new facility will be handicapped accessible and have large resource rooms for seminars, professional training and other educational programs. While waste materials will be handled in a restricted part of the facility, an observation room will be built so visitors can see how the facility operates.

The facility is modeled after a successful HHW recycling center in nearby Summit County, where officials are also exploring a plan to set up a similar facility to collect small amounts of hazardous waste from qualifying commercial and industrial customers.


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