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Recycling sites still a concern

By KEVIN GREEN - kgreen@thecouriertimes.com

Henry County Solid Waste Management District personnel continue to encounter problems associated with the recycling sites the district provides at various locations around the county, although the news isn’t all bad.

HCSWMD Director/Educator JoAnne McCorkle told the district’s board during its regular monthly meeting Wednesday evening that district personnel have visited New Castle’s 12th street recycling site several times over the last couple of months and the problems associated with illegal dumping there appear to have diminished.

“I am happy to report there is not so much trash as there is recycling, but residents continue to leave their recycling piled up on the ground around the containers, which makes servicing of the site very difficult,” McCorkle said.

This location, which is directly across the street from the New Castle Police Department, has frequently experienced problems associated with people placing trash and other non-recyclables in the provided dumpsters and on the nearby ground.

There has been discussion about moving the 12th Street site to a more secure location, such as the New Castle Transit property at Broad and 25th streets, but to date that has only been discussion and no action has been taken.

Throughout the county, recycling sites placed where they can be monitored, and that are behind gates that can be locked when monitoring isn’t possible, have experienced considerably fewer problems than those sites left open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The news about recycling site abuse wasn’t all good, however. 

“I am very disheartened to report that due to continued abuse of the Straughn recycling site, a request has been made to pull their recycling container permanently,” McCorkle said.

She shared with the board a letter from one of Straughn’s town council members making the request. She also said Straughn residents have been very conscientious about the use and care of their site, but the decision to close it was made due to residents from surrounding counties abusing the location.

“Districts statewide are encountering the same difficulties with providing unmanned public recycling sites,” McCorkle said. “Wayne County to the east has pulled all of their public recycling containers due to abuse. I believe that we are going to have to centralize our sites and have them behind chain link fences with surveillance in order to have some control over the abuse and in order to continue to provide this service.”

The board took no action on McCorkle’s observations and subsequent comments. This discussion, which has been ongoing for at least the past two or three years, is expected to continue at future board meetings.

McCorkle also reminded the board the district will host an on-site document shredding event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 28 on the New Castle-Henry County Public Library parking lot.

She noted the SWMD office is again partnering with Healthy Communities of Henry County in a tree give-away program expected to take place during the month of April.

She also reported she expects to have the district’s 2017 annual report ready for the board at its February meeting, which will take place at 5 p.m. Feb. 14 in the old circuit courtroom on the second floor of the Henry County Courthouse, 101 S. Main St., New Castle. That meeting is open to all interested persons.

Where to recycle

Local residents are encouraged to place recyclables in any of the recycling containers located throughout Henry County. The sites are for recycling only. Trash should not be dropped off at these sites. Also, all materials being dropped off should be placed in one of the provided dumpsters, not on the ground.

New Castle: Broad and 25th streets: On New Castle Transit property and in the 200 block of N. 12th St.

Knightstown: At the waste water treatment plant (Jefferson Street at County Road 1200 North). Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.

Mt. Summit: Near the back of Mt. Summit Park.

Middletown: Behind the municipal building on Locust Street.

Mooreland: Behind the grocery store at Mill and Cory streets.

New Lisbon: Beside the fire department and post office at Wilbur Wright Road and County Road 500 South.

Springport: On the lot across from the post office on the south side of Main Street.

Sulphur Springs: Behind the post office on Meridian Street.