By Steve Novotney

Many in the Friendly City would like to see the municipality adopt an improved recycling program as a part of the offered sanitation services.

According to Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron, recycling still takes place, but only on a limited basis. He confirmed that council members are discussing changes to the currently offered services.

“People are still recycling, but the numbers are not where they need to be,” Herron admitted. “That’s one of the considerations when they are discussing the privatization of garbage pickup because they offer single-stream recycling.


“Recycling is lagging right now, and the numbers are nowhere where they used to be,” he said. “We do need to do some additional public education to reenergize it, and it is on the radar.”

Scott Ludolph, owner of Scrappy Pappy’s Recycling in East Wheeling, is very interested in the possibilities in Wheeling, and he has reached out to city officials in hopes of gaining a contract.

“I have established recycling avenues for everything – cans, glass of all colors, paper and cardboard, all plastics and metals, electronics, batteries, oil, paint, and appliances,” he said. “And I am currently researching composting and how to recycle things like old carpets and mattresses.

“I would like to see Wheeling become the greenest city in West Virginia, and I would like to see the people of Wheeling be proud of its recycling program,” Ludolph said. “If you ask people why they don’t recycle, there are usually two reasons: It’s a pain in the rear; and because they don’t know if the materials will actually be recycled. Well, I can tell people that if I am involved, at least 97 percent of what they put out will be recycled.”

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Photo by Mona Sfeir

Ludolph’s father, Paul, founded Scrappy Pappy’s 25 years ago, and since his passing two years ago, Scott has dedicated his efforts to making his dad’s dream come true. Not only has he reached out to city officials in the past, but Ludolph regularly attends ReInvent Wheeling’s monthly Green Table discussions.

“If I were to win a contract with the city of Wheeling, the collection process would take place the day before a resident’s regular garbage collection takes place,” he explained. “There would not be a need for special bins like in the past. All they would have to do is put everything recyclable into one bag, and I would separate it.

“Part of the process also would be letting the people know how much they are recycling,” Ludolph said. “It’s my belief that if the people can see for themselves just how much they are helping correct this problem, it will attract even more to participate, and I would establish a website that would allow them to see the numbers for themselves.”

Currently, Ludolph operates Scrappy Pappy’s by himself, but he said a contract with the city of Wheeling would create as many as three to four full-time positions.

“And maybe more than that,” he said. “I did a little experiment on myself just to see how much recyclable materials I had over a certain amount of time, and I was astounded at the amount I had collected in just one year.

“Right now, the city only recycles cans and paper, but there could be so much more,” Ludolph continued. “I’m confident this process can be completed the right way with as much as possible getting recycled, and if that were to happen, I think the people of Wheeling would be very happy about that.”

Recycling bins outside SOmerfield

Jake Dougherty, the director of ReInvent Wheeling, believes there is a lot of interest in Wheeling about improving the system currently in place.

“Recycling comes up in a lot of the conversations I have, and that’s because we’re pretty limited right now in Wheeling,” he said. “That’s why we are looking into finding ways to make recycling more available to the residents.

“When I look at other areas to see what kind of programs they have adopted, it’s pretty easy to see that a few decisions could be made that would change the direction of recycling in Wheeling,” Dougherty added. “I believe it’s important to the future, and I believe it’s something people look at when they are thinking about moving here or moving back to Wheeling.”

Herron said the city of Wheeling has made moves to increase energy efficiency and to reduce spending.

“We just finished a fairly significant energy project during which we converted almost every traffic light in the city to LED,” Herron explained. “We re-lit the arena with new lighting. We put energy-efficient furnaces in our fire stations. There are new garage doors that are insulated.

“We have done several things to reduce the amount of energy that we use,” the city manager added. “And we are investigating what options we do have at this time so we can change the direction as far as recycling is considered.”

5 Responses

  1. Margie

    I must admit I was a bit embarrassed on Thanksgiving when several of my out-of-town guests asked for my recycling containers to discard their bottles and cans, and I had none. That is my own fault; I should take the time to sort my trash into separate containers, but as others have commented, it’s not an easy process in Wheeling. When I lived in Germany, we had five separate containers in our house, each color-coded: yellow for cans and plastic (which were combined), blue for paper, brown for compost, gray for non-recyclable trash (the smallest of the containers), and we used green containers for glass. The city picked up our plastics, papers, cans, trash, and compost, and every neighborhood had centrally located recycle containers for glass. Not only was it easy to recycle, it also felt great to know one was making a positive impact on the environment. The following article goes into great detail about Germany’s recycling program, which includes battery drop-off boxes and regular large item pick-ups (like furniture)

  2. sarahkoegler

    Amen, Woodsmom! I was flabbergasted when I moved here 8 years ago that recycling was so under appreciated and – frankly- frowned upon with skepticism and doubt. We are SO behind the times here. It’s not about whether you are “left or right”, “environmental or pro-business” (a ridiculous and made-up dichotomy anyway) – this is about presenting ourselves as a modern, forward thinking city for families and businesses that consider relocating here. I think we should be doing all we an to support a business like Scrappy Pappy’s – the city has run out of time to improve this as far as I’m concerned. Great story, thank you!

    • Steve Novotney

      This story represents the beginning of Weelunk’s coverage on this issue. I plan to continue researching everything about this so we can help usher in full-blown recycling here in the city of Wheeling.

  3. woodsmom

    Ohio County recycles more materials than the City. Why?
    Wheeling, the city where former glass companies made incredible things (Hobbs, Brockunier & Co., Fostoria, North Wheeling Glass Works, and many others), does not recycle glass. Why?
    “Numbers are not what they should be…” Why?
    Each question has a relatively easy answer, and I don’t believe for a second that “there’s not a market for recyclables” is an appropriate one. This isn’t 1984. Why in 2014 do so many people skip curbside recycling here? It’s not that Wheelingites don’t believe in the program. For me, it’s a pain to sort our recycling and drive part to another state, up the hill or to St.Mikes, and then leave the paltry rest for the city to pick up every other week, and remember which week is the right week. We are recycling, albeit on our own. If the City began curbside, I’ll bet they’d see an instant, marked jump in those numbers, even if it included a higher fee to the City for pickup. What’s the cost of your time to sort items and then drive them all around to recycle them? To me, it’s worth a few extra bucks a month for the City, or a contractor working for the City, to pick them up AND get them to companies that truly recycle the materials. I’m pretty new here, but I heard that story….
    Recycling is something the residents can DO. We can’t help the energy efficiency of City Hall or the HVAC efficiency of the Fire Station, but we CAN do our part by recycling. (Well done on the LEDs and HE furnaces, by the way)
    Help us out here. We can do this, Wheeling.

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