CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While members of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority wrestle with what to do with mountains of leftover plastic water bottles, they're trying to figure out how to make sure the public keeps recycling once the bottles are gone.
Members of the Solid Waste Authority's governing board met Tuesday and talked about public interest in recycling the millions of water bottles imported after a chemical spill contaminated drinking water for 300,000 people earlier this month. Local officials estimate 10 million water bottles have been brought in to provide safe water for people affected by the Jan. 9 spill.
"The goal is to keep as many of those bottles from getting into the landfill as possible," said George Hunyadi, who runs the West Virginia Recycling Services recycling center on Slack Street in Charleston.
"Kudos go to the people," Hunyadi said. "My business as of last Wednesday was tripled."
Hunyadi said many Kanawha County residents are bringing their used water bottles to Slack Street on their own. In fact, so many people are dropping off bottles at the recycling center that Hunyadi is emptying a 30-yard recycling bin set up for plastic three times a day.
"I used to dump it twice a week," he said.
Local communities are also collecting water bottles. Hunyadi said he's seeing some trucks from Charleston and South Charleston as many as five times a day with loads of plastic water bottles.
Local officials have set up drop points at different locations around the county for residents to recycle their plastic bottles. Hunyadi said an arrangement was made with Waste Management to pick up the bottles on the waste haulers' regular cardboard recycling routes.