The recycling bins located in Greenfield’s Shopko parking lot are being removed following reported regular misuse.
“A few bad apples are ruining the system for everybody else,” said Jennifer Waterman of Highland County Recycling and Litter Prevention. According to Waterman, the bins have been used as a “trash dump,” with televisions, mattresses, carpet, clothing, and sofas being abandoned at the site.
The recycling is picked up by Rumpke and is supposed to include items such as plastic bottles or aluminum cans, Waterman said.
Instead, other materials are being dropped off. According to Waterman, when a “true recycler” comes, he or she then has to place recyclables near the bins, rather than inside them. During stormy and windy weather, those items are then “whipped around,” Waterman added.
She also said that while cleanups of the area have occurred, the debris is often difficult to manage. She said that earlier this year students from McClain High School cleaned the site as a volunteer project.
A week later, she said, a passerby would never have known the area had been cleaned. “It’s just horrible,” Waterman said.
As a result, Waterman said the county is “reducing the amount of bins we have.”
Bins were previously removed from Kmart because they were also reportedly being used for trash. However, Waterman said, that issue was not as severe as in Greenfield, where she said sofas and recliners are an ongoing, weekly problem. Waterman said wind also played a factor at the previous Kmart location.
Bins were also previously removed in Leesburg, not due to misuse, but because “the wind was a problem” to a nearby residential area, Waterman said.
She added that the people of Leesburg were “very, very upset about losing those (bins)” and that they are “very, very into recycling.”
Waterman said she had been directing Leesburg residents to the bins at Shopko. Now, the county is going to try and scout for a different Greenfield location, but Waterman said she has a “feeling (the misuse) is going to repeat itself.”
She added that ideally, the number of bins in a county is based on its population. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills.
Similar misuse, Waterman said, varies in neighboring counties. Ross, Pike and Adams counties face related issues, whereas Clinton and Fayette counties do not seem to have as many problems.
“I think recycling is the most successful … when (cities) have mandatory trash (and recycling), and it’s just a part of your utility bills,” Waterman said. She added that such a step is more difficult in rural areas, but it is “something I think we should look into.”
Waterman also said that currently there are bins located in Mowrystown, in New Market, at a truck stop on U.S. Route 50 (heading toward Rainsboro), outside of Lynchburg (also on Route 50), and at Brad’s Garden Center in Hillsboro.
She added that there is a $500 fine for misusing recycling bins.
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.