In its first six months, the facility has kept more than 1 million pounds of recyclables out of local landfills.
Uniontown, PA - In its first six months of operation, the Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center collected more than 1 million pounds (500 tons) of recyclables.
Fayette County Recycling Coordinator/Stormwater Manager Sheila Shea unknowingly reached the milestone sometime between August and October; discovering the significant achievement when compiling the center’s first bi-annual report.
“I just think it’s amazing. I’m so excited that the program took off like it did. I never thought it would all happen this quickly,” Shea said. “That’s more than 1 million pounds of material that we’ve successfully kept out of our landfills and from being discarded along our roads and waterways.”
Since hosting their grand opening event April 24, the recycling center has served more than 2,500 citizens, collecting more than:
- 17 tons of metal.
- 40 tons of mattresses and furniture.
- 50 tons of electronics.
- 392 tons of regular recycling.
- 12 tons of tires.
Shea said numbers are still coming in retroactively, so the actual tonnage totals are well over 500 tons.
“It’s crazy to think we took in that much in a six-month period,” she said. “Now we just need to build on this momentum, because this is how we reduce Fayette County’s carbon footprint. We’re saving the earth.”
Fayette County Commissioner Chairman Dave Lohr said he “couldn’t be more pleased” that the recycling center has “come so far.”
“Having a skilled, knowledgeable, credentialed recycling coordinator is key, and Sheila Shea has not only grown the program - she’s taken it to a whole new level,” Lohr said. “Once again, Fayette County is on the cutting edge, setting the pace; and other counties are looking to us as the shining example of how to do an effective recycling program.”
Lohr said he is a “firm believer” that you must “remove barriers to participation,” in order for any program to “take root.”
“Take away the reasons people have for not participating, and they’re more likely to do what you’re asking of them. In the case of recycling, that means making it more convenient. By having a centrally located recycling center and drop-off bins at convenient locations throughout the county, we’re taking the hassle out of recycling and removing that barrier,” Lohr said. “It’s been effective. Our recycling numbers are up. Thanks to the innovative programming put in place by Sheila Shea, other counties are looking to replicate our program. I always say, ‘Good things are happening in Fayette County,’ - and this is just another great example of how we get things done.”
Commissioner Vince Vicites, who founded the county’s recycling program more than 30 years ago, said he’s “not surprised” by the center’s success, as Fayette has always been “a leader in recycling.”
“This board of commissioners, with the help of our Recycling Coordinator Sheila Shea, have revamped the program by working with Carry All Products of Connellsville. The Recycling Convenience Center was a great acquisition for the county, following the many years of hard work by Goodwill; and has allowed us to create a drop-off facility that is second to none,” Vicites said. “Now, with the processing of the recyclables at the Connellsville facility, we have a real team effort that is making it easy for the citizens of Fayette County to recycle.”
Vicites said, as a former recycling coordinator, the county’s program is one of his “top priorities.”
“The recycling center and drop-off bins are great tools for making recycling more convenient for our residents,” he said. “The more citizens we have recycling, the more landfill space we save, and the better we protect our environment for everyone in Fayette County.”
Commissioner Scott Dunn said Fayette County is “leading the way in the recycling game!”
“The hard work is not going unnoticed, as we were profiled in a Bloomsburg University study. The amount of material going through the center has been remarkable, and I think this is only the beginning of the program,” Dunn said. “With some ingenuity, I think you will see the tonnage amounts go even higher in the future.”
Dunn, who regularly participates in community roadside and waterway cleanups, said everyone has likely seen recyclable items “littering the county’s otherwise beautiful scenery.”
“The option is now there to drop off hard-to-recycle items - like tires, furniture, televisions and electronics - all year long at the recycling center, in a convenient and cost-effective way,” Dunn said. “Having the bins placed in strategic locations allows residents without curbside pickup the option of participating in recycling - and it’s obviously working, given the amount of recyclables being reported.”
Located at 105 Romeo Lane in Uniontown, the Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center is a self-serve, drive-through option for residents to recycle both regular and hard-to-recycle materials year-round.
Fayette County purchased the property using a DEP Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act grant. Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania opted to leave the industry and close its long-standing recycling center in May 2020, after serving the county for about 30 years.
Fayette County has since entered into an agreement with Carry All Products Inc. for hauling services; and Superior Fine Grind LLC of South Connellsville for processing services.
The property was purchased following a successful year of recycling drop-off bin installations countywide. Since its opening, the property has undergone significant improvements, including a major parking lot paving project that is slated for completion by Nov. 30.
“The center’s immediate success has shown us that the word is getting out there, and we’re reaching the people who want to help us make our communities a better place,” Shea said. “As we grow, we understand we need to improve our facility and expand our offerings, in order to better serve all our citizens.”
Shea is currently seeking a new round of grant funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which will allow her to add to the program’s existing fleet of drop-off bins. She’s also working with multiple Fayette County school districts to expand her outreach efforts to students through new programming; has plans to host on-site stormwater and recycling workshops; and will install multiple rain gardens around the center.
“Businesses are calling me left and right to get involved, and now our schools want to recycle more and more,” Shea said. “In the next year, we hope to see this facility evolve into more than just a recycling center. We want it to be a place for everyone in our community to come and learn how to keep Fayette County green.”
For more information about the Fayette County Recycling Program, contact Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call the Fayette County Recycling Hotline at 724-430-4884 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For regular updates, follow the Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FayetteCoRecycling.
To learn more about Fayette County, visit www.FayetteCountyPA.org.
Editor's Note: Photo attached (Fayette County Recycling Convenience Center)
This communication is part of the Fayette County PR Initiative, which is funded through the Fayette County Local Share Account (LSA) and Hotel Tax Grants in cooperation with the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Fayette, The Redstone Foundation and other partners. This funding has been designated for the continued promotion and marketing of Fayette County, PA.
For more information, contact Kristi Rooker Kassimer, Public Relations Specialist, at 412-691-0262, email@example.com or Kaylie Moore, Community Relations Coordinator, at 724-430-1200 Ext. 1611, firstname.lastname@example.org.