Contamination Threatening County’s Recycling Efforts

Jasper (Local Sources) – Dubois County’s recycling drop-off centers are very busy places, but there is a problem that is threatening recycling efforts in the county.

The county’s Solid Waste District Director Carla Striegel-Winner says thousands of pounds of recycling is brought in daily to the county’s eight drop-off sites but certain items are causing contamination in the recycling bins.

And Striegel-Winner says its becoming a “major issue!”

Contamination is considered anything that is put in a recycle bin that is different from what should be recycled there.

“We have found everything from ceramics in the bottle and jar glass bin to entire bags of trash in recycling bins,” says Steve Berg, Dubois County Highway superintendent and manager of the collection sites.

“Even recyclables that are bagged instead of thrown in loosely and items that still have food in them are a problem.”

The contamination issues in the recycling bins have the county worried that recycling processors will not accept the loads coming from the county if the issue is not resolved.

The Highway Department and the Solid Waste District are working internally to train staff and plan to get better educational materials out to residents.

Strigel-Winner and Berg are encouraging residents who recycle at the county drop sites to help.

  • Be certain of what is acceptable for each type of recyclable by asking the attendant or reading the information and signage (If in doubt, throw it out)
  • Make sure you are putting your items in the correct bin (Entire bags of trash have been found in the recycling bins)
  • Empty your bags or containers of recyclables into the bins (Bags can tangle in the recycling equipment)
  • Experienced recyclers can help educate other recyclers when they see them at the bins

“Our recyclers are so great! We really want to nip this in the bud and get back on track,” says Carla Striegel-Winner, Director of Dubois County Solid Waste District. “I also want people to understand that any blatant misuse of the provided bins can be considered illegal dumping. I hate to think anyone would do this on purpose — we have so many residents who are excited about recycling. And we want to keep it that way.”

Information on recycling in Dubois County can be found at www.duboiscountyrecycles.org.

For questions on proper recycling, residents may ask the site attendant or call the Highway Department at 812-482-5505 or the Solid Waste District at 812-482-7865.

Any groups who would like to schedule a talk on recycling can contact Striegel-Winner at the Solid Waste District.

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