2011-07-07 / Front Page

Rules Violated At County Recycling Bin

Action could be taken against individuals dumping garbage
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


Garbage, dirty diapers and even furniture have made their way to the county’s recycling bin located in the parking lot of the former IGA building. Officials are upset over the obvious disregard for recycling rules and will consider criminal prosecution for those who continue to dump their trash and unused household items at the bin. Garbage, dirty diapers and even furniture have made their way to the county’s recycling bin located in the parking lot of the former IGA building. Officials are upset over the obvious disregard for recycling rules and will consider criminal prosecution for those who continue to dump their trash and unused household items at the bin. Summer is in full swing and many individuals are taking advantage of the seasonably good weather by holding and attending yard sales and catching up on cleaning out their homes and garages. Unfortunately for county officials, many of the items that are no longer deemed valuable by local home owners as well as general household garbage are slowly finding their way into the county-maintained recycling bins.

According to recycling coordinator Greg Reineke of the Fulton County Conservation District, the county has been experiencing “technical difficulties” with the recycling bin located in the old IGA parking lot in McConnellsburg. Among those difficulties are littering the ground surrounding the bin, mixing garbage with recyclable materials and failure to break down boxes.

“When the bin becomes somewhat full, people just dump their recyclables on the ground ... . Unfortunately, once one person does it, it seems that everyone joins in rather than attempt to make space in the bin,” Reineke told the “News.” “Also, what looks like garbage bags often is. We’re getting way too much pure garbage – not just mistakes in what is recyclable, but obvious bags of just garbage.”

A public service to local residents, the “single stream” method of recycling has been offered through the county for several years, replacing both curbside pickup and source separation. Unlike source separation, where each type of recyclable item is placed in its own individual bin, single stream allows all items to be dumped into one container. The recyclables are later sorted by recycling companies before being shipped to perspective markets.

In spite of the ease of using the system, Reineke is fearful of what will become of the recycling program if rules and regulations continue to be blatantly ignored.

The recycling coordinator noted the McConnellsburg bin continues to be emptied on a set schedule – Tuesdays and Fridays. While the bin fills at a faster rate some weeks, Reineke said residents should still refrain from dumping their items on the ground.

“ ... Putting recyclables on the ground is the same thing as littering or illegal dumping, especially if it’s garbage. Likewise, putting actual garbage in the bin is no different than when people throw their garbage into someone else’s dumpster, which is theft of services,” said Reineke, who added prosecution of offenders always remains a possibility.

Furthermore, even though the list of accepted recyclable materials hasn’t changed, the county continues to encounter the same “major problems” on a routine basis – especially with plastics. Items remaining unsuitable for recycling, but often found in and around the Mc- Connellsburg bin, are plastic bags, plastic egg cartons, styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic film, “clamshells,” plastic trays, toys, smoke detectors, compact disc cases and even lawn furniture.

“It seems that people refuse to acknowledge that all plastic is not the same. They just throw everything in when the only acceptable plastic is something that resembles a bottle, jar or jug with a neck narrower than the base,” he said.

“The other issue is that some people don’t break down or flatten their boxes. They throw them in whole and that takes up an amazing amount of space. Therefore, the bin fills up quickly, but it’s all air,” said the coordinator. “Leaving recyclables in garbage bags causes the same problem. It takes up way too much space because the recyclables can’t spread out. Plus the bags aren’t recyclable anyway, and someone has to tear them apart to empty them at the other end.”

Items currently accepted at recycling bins around the county are:

 Newspapers

 Magazines, catalogs

 Phone books

 Cardboard boxes

 Clean pizza boxes

 Food boxes

 Plastic containers with necks smaller than their bases

 Clear, green or brown glass food and beverage containers

 Empty aerosol cans

 Steel food and beverage cans & aluminum beverage cans

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