In an effort to make recycling more convenient and accessible, the Lorain County commissioners have been working for nearly three years to rehab an old steel processing facility at 1627 E. 28th St. in Lorain and turn it into a second waste collection site, in addition to the existing collections center at 540 Abbe Road in Elyria.
Now, the former 11,500-square-foot Duray Machine Company building on nearly an acre of land is nearly ready to start accepting tires. The commissioners say they hope the facility will also accept other household hazardous waste items by the spring.
“During COVID, the single most field request we get is for the days and hours when the [collection center] is open,” says commissioner Sharon Sweda. “There’s a great need for a second recycle location.”
Commissioner Matt Lundy adds, “The reality is, a lot of folks in Lorain don’t want to drive to Elyria and a lot of people in Elyria don’t want to drive to Lorain. The hope is to encourage people to recycle.”
Lorain County acquired the vacant building in 2017 through tax foreclosure, and the renovations really got rolling in winter 2019, says director of the Lorain County Port Authority Patrick Metzger. “There was a crumbling, unstable portion and asbestos abatement. As the weather cleared, we did the exterior work. There was 5,000 square feet of roofing that has rusted away and had disappeared into thin air. We painted, cleaned up the facing, and put in new aprons.”
Additionally, there was a building that was the former Puerto Rican Home that was razed. However, the commissioners say the items in the home were salvaged.
“When we took down the Puerto Rican Home all of the artifacts were saved,” says Sweda, who adds that they will be repurposed in a different project.
The facility is now equipped for tire drop off and processing and box trucks for transport of household waste items. The commissioners say they hope to have the full facility up and running soon, which will accept all the same general recyclables, household hazardous waste, and electronics the other location accepts.
Commissioner Lori Kokoski also reminds people that all recyclables must be loose, not in blue bags, caps placed back on plastic bottles, and pizza boxes are not recyclable. “Everything has to go in loosely, and no loose caps on water bottles,” she stresses. “Caps get stuck in the machines, and bags just get tangled up in the machines. People think they are doing the right thing and it ends up in a landfill.”
Kokoski says they created this second site to encourage recycling. “The more accessible we can make these facilities, the more people will recycle — especially tires.”
And, Metzger adds that the new center itself is an example of responsible recycling.
It’s a unique site that sat deteriorating for a long period of time,” He says. “We got off on the right foot and it’s a nice project. We got something that long term we can use as a benefit to the community. It’s got good legs.”