“We have made the difficult decision to discontinue the 24-hour self-service containers at the Batesville Area Recycle Center effective Friday, Dec. 20,” reports Southeastern Indiana Recycling District executive director Aaron Bell. “Continued worsening contamination and disregard for guidelines have prompted this.”
Drop-off recycling at the 616 John St. location will still be available, but only during business hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon.
SEIRD will continue to focus on recycling bottle- and jug-shaped No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, steel cans, newspaper, paperboard, office paper and corrugated cardboard. However, these items will need to be separated and placed into appropriate containers that will be inside the center and monitored. The 24-hour self-service containers parked outside of the facility will no longer exist as of Dec. 20.
Public outreach coordinator Mandy Creech says illegal dumping of garbage, unacceptable items in the recycling containers and items being left beside the containers are just a few of the issues that led to this decision.
Creech notes district workers have been battling contamination issues for almost three years. “When the containers are full, people leave items on the ground. These items, when not in containers, can blow away and cause littering issues that endanger wildlife and our waterways. We’ve had people leave not only recyclables on the ground, but hard to dispose of items as well. Tires and electronics have been left without people paying the fees. We are charged to recycle these items, so, in essence, they are stealing from us when they do that. People also leave household hazardous waste sitting outside, which is against guidelines and can also be dangerous. We accept those items here at our (Madison) location year-round, but in Batesville only in the spring and summer (April and August) on certain dates.
“We’ve taken great effort to educate Batesville residents about the guidelines over the years. We’ve added signage and handed out brochures. Despite all of our efforts, the illegal dumping and contamination of the containers continues.”
The last straw came Nov. 12 when containers were so polluted that the recycling provider refused to pick them up. According to Creech, “We had to spend several hundred dollars above and beyond our normal operating expenses to remedy this situation. We had to hire someone to come and take everything to the landfill. So those folks who took the time and effort to try and recycle and do the right thing suffered as their material went to the landfill as well.”
According to the public outreach coordinator, “We cannot afford to continue to operate in this manner. We want the people who make the effort to recycle to know we are making sure their material is recycled and not placed in the landfill. The situation at this center has become a dire one that we must find a way to correct.” Monitoring recyclables being dropped off is the only solution.
She warns, “Leaving items outside of our facility is considered illegal dumping and is punishable by law. Adherence to these guidelines is necessary for this facility to continue operations.”