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County’s renewable resources are vital

Blair County is blessed with a variety of trash hauling and recycling companies, but it is imperative that residents respect these services so their benefits continue.

Carelessness, coupled with the tendency of some to use these sites as free garbage disposals, drives up costs and endangers their existence.

Burgmeier’s Hauling provided open recycling to the community for many years, but since requested that only paying customers use their large drop-off facility. It’s not hard to see why.

Despite clearly labeled sorting areas, it is common to spy bags of garbage, old plastic Christmas trees, broken storage bins and clearly non-recyclable items festooned through the mountain of recyclables during a visit.

Many violators don’t realize the cumulative negative effect of their choices.

China recently stopped accepting No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. plastics, so already tight margins are now razor thin. If a company like Burgmeier’s has to hire even one extra worker to separate garbage from recyclables, it can jeopardize an entire operation.

With no city-appointed trash hauler like many large urban areas, many family-owned small businesses have taken root.

Nearly all accept recyclables with their weekly pickups, but we must do our part as customers to have them clearly separated, so that trucks do not fall behind on their daily routes.

While central Pennsylvania is scarce on facilities recycling beyond No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, there are some items — like metal — that none of us should throw away. Caracciolo’s Steel Metal is a longtime Altoona institution, running two scrap yards in and outside the city.

Even if you haven’t saved a large quantity of aluminum, tin, brass or steel to warrant a significant payday, Caracciolo’s has large scrap dumpsters available for free drop-off.

Just be mindful that due to unsolicited dumping — as well as scrap metal theft — many facilities have security cameras protecting themselves, so be sure to only deposit what they actually accept.

By far one of the best kept secrets in the county is the Antis Township Compost Facility. Open to residents of Antis Township, it is one of the most well-run government resources anywhere.

This self-sustaining facility allows drop-off of grass clippings, leaves, bushes and small branches.

Tree branches are chipped into free mulch that winds up beautifying many yards in the Bellwood area as well. Residents save the township money by dropping off and loading on their own. Antis Township collects brush and leaves throughout the area during autumn, and composted over 200 tons of leaves this past year alone.

We are fortunate to have many hard-working people throughout Blair County who allow us to minimize our carbon footprint and be better stewards to the earth.

It is imperative that we both utilize and appreciate these facilities, so they may continue for years to come.

James Krug

Altoona

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