ST. MARYS — For the first time in 15 years, the Elk County Recycling Center will be closed on Saturdays, starting in 2020.

Director Bekki Titchner said the center started back in 2004, accepting only electronics at the Stackpole-Hall Foundation complex.

The ECRC moved to its current location on Washington Street three years ago, where it now collects electronics three days a week — Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday from noon-8 p.m., Tichner said. The location has a nice, large space, as well as a drive-thru service, easy for recyclers to drop off their items.

There are less and less people coming to the center on Thursdays, Tichner said, since they can come during the week.

“We rely on a lot of volunteers, and we don’t want them just standing here,” she said.

“We are doing what we can to help all of our residents, and taking as many materials as we can,” Tichner said.

Much of the recycling process is about education. The ECRC ends up throwing many items away, since a lot of items dropped off at dumpster sites are non-recyclable.

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“We pay for the garbage to be moved out of the container,” she said. “It’s extra work and money.”

Recycling can be confusing, Tichner adds, especially with items like plastics, and understanding the difference between them. Every bottle has a resin-identification code, used to help recycling plants sort materials. Plastics are labeled with numbers one through seven.

For example, a Dasani water bottle is a number one, while a milk jug is a number two.

It’s important to understand this process, Tichner says, since several items that people drop off end up being thrown away.

The ECRC also cannot take styrofoam and paper cartons such as juice and beef and chicken-broth containers or milk in paper cartons, as well as waxed containers, Tichner adds.

The ECRC offers regular recycling services for Johnsonburg, Wilcox, Ridgway and Fox and Jay townships in Elk County. People from outside counties also travel to St. Marys, since it’s one of the only recycling facilities nearby.

The ECRC’s last Saturday collection will be Dec. 21.

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