CIRCLEVILLE — The Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Ohio Buckeye Chapter has named Pickaway County’s executive director its young professional of the year.

Erica Tucker, 34, district director of the RPHF Solid Waste District, which serves Pickaway, Fayette, Ross and Highland counties, was chosen for the distinction and recently presented with an Ohio shaped plaque to commemorate the award.

Tucker said she was excited to have been named the young professional of the year.

“I was really surprised and it makes me feel good,” she said. “We’re trying to get this younger generation to step into positions and care about them.”

Tucker noted her passion for recycling, advocating for recycling even with her previous position in the Pickaway County Commissioner’s Office.

“When I came in I was like ‘where are the recycling bins’,” she said. “I was so mad I was throwing my paper away. I got the county office recycling started. It was fun to do but a little difficult at first. It’s change and it’s hard but people love it now. People still email me to add bins to their office.”

Tucker has served on the SWANA Ohio Chapter board of directors since September of 2018.

“It’s been a great board to work with,” she said. “I try to choose wisely where I spend my time and I’m happy to help this one out.”

Tucker said when someone sets their mind on an idea and goal, that’s when they can make things happen.

“We’ve come a long way since 2015,” she said. “We’ve got Chillicothe curbside [recycling] back on board, we’ve got Pumpkin Show recycling, we’ve done a complete website revamp. There are a lot more options now than there were four years ago.”

Looking ahead, Tucker wants to work more on the education side of things.

“It’s so important to educate people because it varies by county,” she said. “There’s Fairfield County that has source separated where they have containers only for cardboard, only for glass. Here we’re able to all stick it in one, but that can be burdensome here because sometimes trash gets put in there.”

Tucker said 2020 is exciting because it will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and it’s nice to look back at how things have changed.

“One moment I’m like why aren’t we doing better, but we’ve also come a long way,” she said.

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