Local and state government officials, along with members of the community gathered on Thursday June 7, 2018 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA). The event was held inside a brand-new facility designed to handle recyclables for the 110,000 residents of the 24 municipalities in SECCRA’s service area. Funding for this facility was partially provided by a $250,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“SECCRA has a long history of environmental stewardship, going back to its genesis in 1968 led by Anson B. Nixon”, said Bill Stullken, former general manager who retired from SECCRA in 2013. He added, “Since the environmental awakening of the mid-1960’s forward thinkers and doers in southern Chester County have taken the initiative to safely manage their solid waste. The commitment continues. SECCRA is pledged to planning and implementing safe, effective solid waste management now and in the future.
Scott Mengle, SECCRA’s current general manager told the crowd why the new facility was needed. Recycling in southern Chester County had grown over 750% over the past nine years with the advent of single-stream recycling. SECCRA’s existing infrastructure was simply not big enough to handle these volumes. He said, “The primary purpose of this building is not to do the separation of recyclables here, but to allow smaller loads to be consolidated into larger, more cost-effective ones. Once consolidated, those loads go to SECCRA’s partners who separate the recycling into its individual constituencies.” What used to be an operation that would fills 3 tractor trailers of recycling a week has grown to one that fills 4-5 per day.
Instead of holding a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, SECCRA wanted to figure out a way to do something recycling related that would have a similar effect to cutting a ribbon. As such, members of SECCRA’s board of directors opened the lid on a household recycling container, which triggered giant inflatable replicas of recyclables to fall from the ceiling in to a recycling transfer trailer below.
State Representative John Lawrence and State Senator Andrew Dinniman presented Mr. Mengle with citations of congratulations to SECCRA. Representative Lawrence said, “We’re here today at a place that no one wants to think about. But everyone in the room today knows what a critical piece of infrastructure that SECCRA is to southern Chester County. By [recycling], we are extending the life of this facility for decades. What a win for everybody and for the environment.”