BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – First Energy has environmental concerns at the forefront of many of its projects.

The company just launched a new recycling program in Ohio.

The program started in 2020. First Energy recycles wooden utility poles that are no longer in use. Wooden utility poles can be re-purposed into a variety of things.

“If they’re interested in repurposing a wooden utility pole for various applications like fencing or parking posts, they can sign up to receive one of these poles for free,” said Lauren Siburkis of First Energy.

All the hardware is removed when a pole is retired. Each pole weighs about 50 pounds per cubic foot. It must be at least 8-foot tall to use in the program.

Broken poles may be considered if deemed still structurally sound. Since 2020, FirstEnergy has kept more than 1 million pounds of discarded utility poles from landfills.

This was a program that was piloted here in the Mahoning Valley. First Energy has since expanded the program to all its service areas. If you want to repurpose a pole, it’s free.

But this isn’t the only environmentally-friendly initiative First Energy has launched.

Other initiatives include wildlife preservation. You may have seen nests on some poles.

There were platforms built for birds to use. It keeps them safe and the equipment functioning.

The utility pole program is expected to reduce First Energy’s waste stream significantly over time.

Most poles weigh between 300 and 4,100 pounds. Already the company has kept more than 1 million pounds of poles from ending up in landfills.

“We all live and work within these communities and it’s very rewarding for us to be able to have a positive impact on the environment. We’re always looking for opportunities to strengthen our local communities,” Siburkis said.

You can contact First Energy for more information.