Making a 'Greener' Mountain State: Part 1

Local - 2/4/2014 3:49 PM by Rebecca Turco

BECKLEY - As more and more items are manufactured from recycled materials, do you ever wonder the steps it takes to give your soda bottles a second life?

The Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority's recycling facility is automated with conveyor systems but it is still labor intensive for the twelve employees, according to Recycling Plant Supervisor Fred Lovell.

First, the items are dropped off by haulers and separated on the floor of the plant. Then they are sent to the "picking line," where workers sort the products by material and throw them into designated bins. Once a bin is full, the contents are sent to a baler, which compresses the materials into cubes weighing hundreds of pounds. These bales are eventually sent to other plants where they are processed into new materials.

"We're bailing all day as well as sorting products so we can keep the product moving, get it bailed, get it sold and get it shipped out so we can have room to put the product that's coming in," Lovell explained.

The recycling plant accepts fiber products like newspapers, office papers and cardboard, as well as aluminum and steel cans. Numbers one and two plastic bottles can also be recycled there.

However, Lovell said there are people who still throw their trash with their recyclables. "We've had dead animals and everything else come through but that's just the nature of things," he said. "You just take those things and move on."

The recycling center serves Raleigh, Fayette and Wyoming Counties. 


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