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Abuse of recycling containers threatens program

Dumpster at Albion City Hall, where a plastic swimming pool and Styrofoam  had to be removed.
Dumpster at Albion City Hall, where a plastic swimming pool and Styrofoam had to be removed.
Albion and other area communities have a problem that could prove costly for residents.
The problem is illegal dumping of non-recyclable materials in the local recycling bins.
Only paper and cardboard are allowed in the marked recycling bins placed around the community.
Recently, more and more non-recyclable items have been found in recycling bins. Some items, such as plastics or metals, are being “hidden” inside cardboard within the containers.
Recently, at the City of Albion recycling bins behind city hall, a plastic child’s swimming pool and styrofoam packing were found inside the recycling dumpster.
At other times, construction debris items such as scrap wood and glass have been placed inside the recycling dumpsters.
Albion has also had problems with garbage being deposited in the tree and yard waste dump.
The materials from recycling bins are picked up on a regular route by Bud’s Sanitary Service of Newman Grove, and the materials are taken to GreenFiber of Norfolk, where they are processed into cellulose insulation.
Loads contaminated with non-recyclables can be rejected by GreenFiber. When that happens, the load must either be reprocessed and the non-recyclables removed, or it must be taken to a landfill. Either one of those options costs more.
“This threatens the recycling program, which actually saves money for us and our rate payers,” said Daryl Guthard, owner of Bud’s Sanitary Service.
The company hauls 18 to 20 tons of paper and cardboard every week from area towns. If hauled to a landfill, it costs $40 per ton to dump this material. The company is paid enough for the paper and cardboard loads to cover the cost of collection and hauling, but the primary benefit to customers comes from the estimated savings of $700 to $800 per week on tipping fees by not hauling it to a landfill.
Those savings are passed on to customers through lower garbage pickup rates, Guthard said.
At one time, Bud’s Sanitary had a mixed recycling program that included specified plastics and metals. However, due to the lack of viable markets for the plastics and metals, those materials are no longer allowed in the recycling stream for local communities.
Only paper and cardboard have been allowed in the recycling bins since Aug. 1, 2016.
Dumping of prohibited materials is punishable as a misdemeanor crime. Anyone who sees illegal dumping in progress is asked to notify their local law enforcement agency.