Bob Downing

Medina Countyís Central Processing Facility is considered an asset and should be kept and improved.

Those were among the key findings from a new report the Medina County Solid Waste Technical Advisory Committee compiled to examine the future of solid-waste collections.

Medina County residents also like their current garbage-recycling program, and it should be maintained, the report says.

Other specifics call on the county to do more to boost recycling rates from the plant in Westfield Township and to investigate whether the processing facility might be better managed by a public entity, said Chris Easton, the Wadsworth service director who chaired the advisory committee.

The report now goes to the Medina County Solid Waste Districtís Policy Committee and to the county commissioners for action.

At present, a private company, Cleveland-based Envision Waste, runs the county-owned plant. It takes all Medina County garbage and pulls out recyclables and organic waste. Residents simply throw away all trash, including recyclables.

The major recommendation from Eastonís committee is that Medina County ďpublicly or privately operate the Central Processing Facility and other facilities with major improvements in recyclables extraction from mixed-waste processing,Ē the 11-page document says.

A full financial review would be required before any decision on whether the county should operate the facility, the report says.

If a private entity operates the plant, existing contracts should be reviewed to minimize operating costs and increase revenue from recyclables, the report says.

The last debt payment on the plant was due this month, and the countyís current operations contract expires in early 2015.

Trash haulers and their customers pay $61 a ton to take garbage to the plant for processing.

The recycling rate from the Medina County processing plant for paper, cardboard, metals and plastics is 6 percent of the volume by weight or 3 percent of the total volume by weight that is accepted at the plantís scale house, the report says.

That is far less that nearby communities with curbside recycling that recycle about 17 percent.

There is a need to boost recycling totals, Eastonís committee says.

Medina County diverts that additional 11 percent into fuel and compost, something other counties donít do, the report says.

The plant, built in 1993, handles 120,000 to 150,000 tons of waste a year.

The current review is the countyís first re-examination of its solid waste plan in 20 years.

The report comes after numerous meetings, a public survey with more than 1,000 respondents and considerable discussion with stakeholders.

The county hired consulting firm G.T. Environmental to analyze operations. It outlined seven options.

The county review is taking place at a time when the Ohio EPA is considering updating rules and the county is updating its long-term waste plan.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.