CEO of Jackson River enterprises talks about Recycling in Bath

Recently the Bath County Board of Supervisors brought attention to the importance of recycling when a split vote tabled a proposal to stop recycling glass because it is not cost effective. Quite a few community members voiced concerns that possibly stewardship of the planet is an undertaking in which we can’t afford to be only cost conscious. Todd Anderson C.E.O. of Jackson River Enterprises came to the Bath Branch of the library to talk about area recycling and the company he runs.

JRE is a processor of recyclable materials sorting and baling them for the larger market. They collect materials from Covington, Clifton Forge, and Allegheny Counties while Bath and Highland arrange to have theirs transported to the facility on Edgemont Drive in Covington. From there JRE sends them out in forty thousand pound loads to buyers who either convert them into the next product, or ship them overseas. Todd began by clarifying many questions about exactly what can and cannot be recycled here, and those listening learned a lot about JRE as well.

“I think probably what you are limited to dropping off is what your bins allow you to drop off.” Cardboard, mixed paper, aluminum, tin and plastic collection is available at the dumpster sites throughout the county except for the newest one on Dry Run Road. Three of the sites offer glass collection too. In Highland, listeners know where the recycling trailer is parked through out the month. As Todd explained, because the market for glass is poor at the moment, his employees only work with two kinds.

“The only folks that we can sell to, it’s got to be separated, so we can only do clear and brown. It’s really, really important that only the brown goes in the brown bin, and only the clear goes in the clear bin, cause if it gets contaminated, I can’t do anything with it. The glass, like I say, clear only, brown only. Avoid wine bottles, any kind of colored glass.”

Because Jackson River Enterprises is a non-profit corporation, its’ goals are as much providing socialization, and skills development for people with disabilities, as they are keeping waste out of the landfill. Plastic is another material that doesn’t bring in much income, but they continue to process because otherwise we would be up to our ears in it.

“You know how to tell what kind of plastic it is? On the bottom you have a triangle, like this one has a number 2. Have you all seen that? Plastic is normally a #s 1 through 7. We only do 1s and 2s.”

At JRE the plastics are sorted and baled, and it takes longer to accumulate a forty thousand pound load of plastic, than it does cardboard.

Fortunately, cardboard is a very effectively recycled material, and several companies around Covington designate large loads for JRE daily. Todd went on to explain aluminum and tin, metals we think of as sellable have dropped in value for the time being. Tin brings about 1 cents a pound, and JRE can give 20 cents a pound for aluminum.

He noted they actually prefer to get both metals and plastics uncrushed because the baling process is easier when cans and bottles are whole.

Plain office paper is sorted from newspapers, magazines and other types because it’s more valuable. Todd offered the easiest way to decide if you can throw it in the mixed paper bin or not.

“If you can tear it, it’s recyclable.”   JRE also offers shredding, or document destruction for 25 cents a pound.

Jackson River Enterprises employs about fifty people in the area, about thirty of whom have a disability of some kind. Most referrals for employment are made through the Department of Rehabilitative Services. It is open Monday through Friday 8:30 to 3:30, and welcomes visitors. For more information: 540-962-3441

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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