CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local officials trying to revive Kanawha County's flagging recycling program hope a Chicago businessman will be able to come to the rescue.
Members of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority voted Tuesday to sign a letter of intent with businessman George Hunyadi to take over operations of the Slack Street Recycling Center in Charleston.
Members of the Solid Waste Authority shut down the 100-year-old Slack Street recycling building and its machinery in March because of safety concerns, severely hobbling the county's recycling program. Recycling at Slack Street has dropped from about 600 tons a month before the shutdown to about 100 tons a month.
Members of the Solid Waste Authority have been trying to figure out a way to salvage the recycling program since before the shutdown. Meanwhile, county officials and members of the Charleston Area Alliance set up a special task force to come up with their own recommendations on how to save the program.
On Tuesday, Hunyadi registered West Virginia Recycling Services as a corporation with the Secretary of State's Office. The company is a spin-off of Chicago-based Draw Enterprises, which runs recycling programs in other parts of the country.
Rod Watkins, a member of the Solid Waste Authority, said Hunyadi wants to lease the idled Slack Street building from the Solid Waste Authority for a fee based on recycling tonnage. Hunyadi would in turn sell the recyclable materials that come through Slack Street to make money.
"I want it to work," said Solid Waste Authority chairwoman Kay Summers. "I think this may be our answer."
Hunyadi told solid waste officials on Tuesday that he thought it would take about 800 tons of recyclables coming through Slack Street every month to make the idea profitable. State officials and members of the task force put the figure at 1,000 tons a month.
"That's the magic number that's being thrown around the task force," said Matt Ballard, executive director of the Charleston Area Alliance and head of the recycling task force.
Either way, local officials think Kanawha County could generate more recyclables than it does.