Sorting and separating

A couple of local retirees have been giving back to the community by volunteering at the Marietta Area Recycling Center for more than 20 years.

Brad Bond, 83, of Marietta began working at the recycling center in 1990, while Fearing Township resident Jim Nohe, 74, started at the center in 1992.

“My wife, Gwen, was a factor,” Nohe said. “She was doing this from the beginning, and I started working with recycling when I retired, so she turned it over to me. But I’ve always been concerned about all the things we’re putting in dumps that shouldn’t be there.”

He said recycling plastics, for example, not only keeps that material out of the ground, but it also helps reduce the need for fuel as the plastic does not have to be trucked into landfills.

As for volunteering, Nohe said his four sons, who grew up in the local area and attended Marietta schools, have done very well with their lives, so he felt the need to give something back to the community.

After retirement Bond said he, too, wanted to do something to benefit the community.

“I wanted to be helpful in some way, and it really gives me pleasure to be able to help my community,” he said. “But this is also my ‘gym’ that helps me stay in shape.”

Both men spend at least 10 hours a week at the recycling center, sorting and separating plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard and paper bound for facilities where other recyclers will process the materials so that they can be used to make other products.

“We also cope with whatever people don’t do right when they come to the recycling center,” Bond said. “They’ll put brown glass bottles in with the clear glass, or they may break bottles by tossing them into the smaller trash containers which could cause us to cut our hands when we empty those containers.”

Another recycling center hazard is yellow jackets that seem to constantly buzz around metal cans and plastic containers that have not been rinsed out before they’re taken to the center.

“I try to ignore the yellow jackets,” Bond said. “If you don’t pay attention to them you’re less likely to get stung.”

Pointing to a broken plastic car-top carrier someone left lying in the center’s parking lot, Nohe said that type of plastic is not recyclable and will have to be hauled to a landfill at the center’s expense.

“People bring stuff like that here all the time and leave it,” he said. “Part of the problem is that people don’t read the signs we’ve posted around the site about what can be recycled and what can’t. If they would just take the time to read they would know.”

In spite of those frustrations, Bond and Nohe still believe recycling is well worth the time they take to volunteer at the center.

Both men also volunteer in other areas.

Bond gives tours of the W.P. Snyder sternwheeler at the Ohio River Museum, and assists in breeding bird surveys for the state of Ohio and the federal government. He also does a lot of volunteer work at his church.

Nohe volunteers with the Marietta area Head Start Program and helps during the spring and fall outdoor education events at the Washington County Career Center.

“Brad does the outdoor education, too,” he said. “We just enjoy volunteering, contributing to the community and keeping active. I don’t want to just sit on my duff.”