IRC may shift recycling center

Intermunici­pal Relations Committee to take over J&J site on Margaret Avenue

The location of the Intermunici­pal Relations Committee’s composting and recycling center on Black Snake Road beyond the Buckhorn has never been ideal, even though it’s only 6 miles from downtown.

A resolution approved Wednes­day by City Council to apply for a grant to buy a recently closed private recycling center on Margaret Avenue should help resolve part of that location problem.

Based on the resolution, the IRC will seek $350,000 from the state Department of Environmental Pro­tection to buy, renovate and equip the former J&J Recycling near PennDOT’s Driver’s License Center.

IRC Executive Director John Frederick said the facility would allow the IRC to shift the recycling operation to a site much more accessible to people who live in the IRC municipalities — Altoona, Logan Township and Hollidaysburg.

It would also enable the IRC to return the Buckhorn facility to its original function as simply a compost facility and free the garage there to house composting equipment year-round.

The new dropoff center will accept recyclables that haulers don’t collect at the curbside, Frederick said.

Those include electronics of all sorts, appliances big and small, such as stoves, refrigerators, toasters and microwaves; fluorescent light bulbs; batteries; smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; cooking oil; motor oil; books; and scrap metals, Frederick said.

It will not accept miscellaneous plastics like yogurt and margarine tubs and plastic bubble packaging for now, as the markets for those are almost non-existent, due to China’s refusal to take them, Frederick said.

The Margaret Avenue site will also be available for individuals and businesses that periodically build up an excess of curbside recyclables, Frederick said.

That frequently happens with corrugated cardboard, he said.

Among the benefits of acquiring the Margaret Avenue property is its generous indoor storage space, which will enable the IRC to shelter collected recyclables, especially electronics, before they’re transported to markets, Frederick said.

“Very nice,” said Council­man Dave Butterbaugh.

“It will be great to have a facility closer,” Council­man Bruce Kelley said.

The application for the grant is due March 22, said City Manager Marla Marcinko.

The IRC will apply for the money in the city’s name because the IRC is ineligible to apply itself — having too recently received a grant from the same fund for a grinder, Frederick said.

Because of that ineligibility, Hollidaysburg will apply for money from the DEP fund for a collection truck, while Logan Township will apply for money for a collection truck and food waste processing equipment, Frederick said.

The owner of J&J is Judy Green, widow of Joe Green of Joe’s Hauling — which is now known as Joe and Judy’s Hauling, with Joe now referring to the Greens’ son, Frederick said.

There have been three appraisals of the property, and the IRC has alerted Green that the city can’t pay more than the appraised value, Frederick said.

Still, “there are many i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed,” he said. “It’s all still very much in pencil.”

The renovations will include a new bathroom and office, new fencing and some new equipment — including a horizontal baler and a conveyor to feed it, Frederick said.

The grant money — which DEP has indicated should be available based on a “solid” preapplication — should be enough to get the facility operating, although some of the work might need to wait for further money, Frederick said.

The grant money might not be available until late fall. Operations at the facility could begin in spring of 2020, he said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.