LISBON - Recycling reached another record high in 2011, but the increase was considerably less than past years.
Columbiana County residents dropped off 5.3 million pounds of recyclable materials at the collection sites last year, a 2 percent increase from 2010, according to Chris Jacobs, director of the Solid Waste District that serves Columbiana, Carroll and Harrison counties.
"The district wants to thank everyone, including residents and host communities, for supporting recycling," he said, in a news release. "Columbiana County residents continue to show that they are avid recyclers, and these numbers provide it. None of this would be possible without everyone's help."
The 2011 increase pales in comparison to the double-digit increases the district experienced in recent years. The amount of waste recycled in the county has doubled since 2007, with the annual increases during that time ranging from 12 percent to 37 percent, which coincided with the increase in collection sites.
The district's voluntary recycling program consists of 30 permanent collection sites spread around the county where recyclable materials are disposed of in dumpsters. The numbers began to skyrockect in 2006 after the district increased the number of sites from 15 to 27 to meet the state mandate that recycling be made available to 90 percent of all households.
Three more collection sites have been added since, with the newest being the one located last year at the Highlandtown Fire Department. The most popular sites continue to be in Salem, Columbiana, East Liverpool, East Palestine and Lisbon. To find the nearest site go to www.RecyclingMakesSense.org or call 1-800-980-7311.
Jacobs believes the lingering effects of the recession have contributed to the smaller increase in recycling, with people purchasing less items because money continues to be tight.
"We have also been saturating the area with marketing -ads, news releases, etc - so at some point we will start seeing smaller increases as time goes by," he said.
Despite the increases, the numbers represent less than 10 percent of all household waste. Residents can recycle newspaper, office paper, magazines, phone books, junk mail, steel cans, aluminum cans, numbers one through seven plastic containers, and green, brown and clear glass.
The district paid two companies $214,545 to operate the drop-off recycling program last year, with the district receiving $116,526 in recycling revenue.
The district spent $485,000 in 2011, ending the year with a $130,000 balance. Its revenue comes mostly from a dumping fee charged landfills that accept garbage from haulers doing business in the three counties and money derived from the recycling program.