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Recycler contests Starbrick recycling proposal

A local recycler has challenged a county recycling center proposal, suggesting the county should ditch its proposal and buy out his business.

John Mortenson, Mortenson Recycling in Chandler’s Valley, spoke to the Warren County Commissioners on Monday.

He said his business has run a public recycling drop-off “consistently twice a month for 20 years” and said he is “disappointed with a couple recent developments.”

The crux of his complaint was the allegation that he “didn’t have a clue what was happening until we read about it in the paper,” and wasn’t included in the county recycling planning process.

The county’s proposal centers around a recycling center to be established at the county’s warehouse in Starbrick. It would be funded by closure fund revenue generated by closing the Grunderville landfill, an ongoing effort.

Mortenson told the commissioners that the program “would be quite invasive in our interest” and said that “if the ship is going to sail without us… (the) county should buy our business.”

He said that “any discussion about focus … primarily on the Starbrick warehouse is without merit,” explaining that the facility might be good for storage, but alleged access issues for the public and truck traffic.

“All of the criteria that go into that business, that Starbrick facility does not fit at all,” he said. “I don’t have a clue what you’re recycling consultant told you… that facility is definitely not going to be adequate.”

He suggested the development of a site in North Warren that “could operate with a much more flexible scale than I offer.”

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, who has driven the effort for a county-wide option, said this is the “second, maybe third” time that Mortenson has come to a meeting to express concerns.

He said he didn’t feel like he needed to respond again, but that he would have a conversation with Mortenson.

“(The county warehouse in Starbrick) is as large as the facility in Elk County that currently operates a comprehensive recycling program for the county,” Eggleston said in response to Mortenson in 2018. “The warehouse was previously the TAWC bus station where they performed maintenance on buses and other large vehicles. The warehouse is centrally located on Route 6, in the middle of the county, and is easy to drive to and access. There will be additions done to the building as a part of the program to make it even more accessible.

“We are not interested in creating something huge initially, but making a start and taking care of services not currently provided in Warren County. There is a definite need we see, especially with our quarterly recycling events.”

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