‘Picking up’ the county one piece at a time

Shell donates $225,000 to Beaver County for recycling program, FHS continues on with earth-friendly program

Jenna Engel, Design Editor

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Shell Chemicals announced that they will be donating a total of $225,000 to Beaver County over the next three years. The main program benefitting from this boost of funds will be the district recycling program.

Holly Vogt, the director of Beaver County’s waste management department, was contacted by Shell approximately nine months before the announcement was made in late February. They had discussed how the money will be spent, with the biggest impact of the funds showing in the recycling program.

Vogt can now hire a new full-time employee at the recycling center, adding another body to their staff of three.

The money will also enable the county’s recycling center in Brady’s Run to expand its hours of operation. Currently, the center is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m-1 p.m. According to Vogt, their limited exposure to the community is a “huge stumbling block.

In terms of community outreach, school and community-based recycling programs will be put in place as well. According to Vogt, the money will aid in the payment of certain employees to go into local schools to educate students on the benefits of recycling.

Back in 2016, confusion struck the Freedom campus as the paper recycling dumpster in the back of the school was missing. George Miklas, previous advisor of the recycling program, retired after the 2016-2017 school year.

In mid-Jan. 2018, Freedom’s National Honors Society (NHS) students began a plastic recycling service project. They placed a recycling bin in the cafeteria and devised a student-lead schedule for recycling collection at the end of each week. The collections were taken to the New Sewickley Township Municipal Building.

With the program being over a year in the making, its success is picking up by the day. The program has been so successful that NHS is planning to purchase another bin to place in the main hallway upstairs in the high school.

“I think NHS has done a good job of implementing the recycling program. Hopefully, through the new bin that we’re placing in the top floor of the high school, we’ll be able to promote more recycling within the school, even though we definitely still have some more ways to go.” NHS Sponsor Ruthanne Gudzan said. “It’s easy to say, ‘Oh well, it’s just one bottle, it’s easy to throw it away,’ but that one bottle actually makes a huge difference.”

Whether recycling is on a large, county-wide scale or in a small school, every paper and bottle that can stay out of our landfills makes a difference. The grant will help boost county-wide improvement of the recycling program, and can potentially turn other schools onto the green path that Freedom has started.