Paper Or Plastic?

Abuse of the Citizen Recycling Station, like the example above, is why council agreed with staff’s recommendation that the program be shut down next week. Less than half of the material placed in the bin could actually be recycled.

Continued misuse of the Citizen’s Recycle Station has prompted the city to eliminate the main compactor as of Oct. 1.

Only the cardboard box recycling container will remain, City Manager Courtney Sladek told Council.

“We’re facing such contamination issues ... single stream probably needs to go out of service,” she said.

The bin was supposed to be for newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and the like. Instead, city staff frequently finds everything from old mattresses to dirty diapers tossed in the bin at East Calhoun and Shropshire.

With the contamination, recycling centers generally won’t accept the loads. In August, only 12 tons of the 61 tons of material left at the compactor could actually be recycled.

The dumping is not likely to stop even if the compactor is removed, Mayor Pro Tem Philip Miller said, recommending the city contact County Environmental Officer Mark Somer.

“Mark is very, very good at what he does,” Miller said, adding Somer typically will sort through dumped material until he finds something to identify the person responsible. Once evidence is found, that person could be ticketed.

It will be hard to contaminate the cardboard recycling trailer, Sladek told Council, as it only as a thin opening designed to accept broken down cardboard boxes.

Councilwoman Gloria Harris suggested putting up cameras while Mayor Randy Collins said moving the station may be wise.

“That would be best. If it were near a city building where we could put up a camera and a sign ‘Under video surveillance,’” Assistant Police Chief Gary Williamson told Council.

No council members expressed any concern over eliminating the recycling option.

Councilman David Hodges pointed out that he and other residents could simply get another trash container if all the material previously recycled doesn’t fit in the first.

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