Improper use putting recycling bin availability in jeopardy again

Posted June 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

The two recycle bins located at the City of Albany’s maintenance facility in east Albany and used by city and county residents as a way to recycle materials, is again in danger of being lost, according to Albany Mayor Nicky Smith.

The recycling bins, which were secured through work of a school club a few years ago and originally placed in the Westview Shopping Center lot, have almost consistently been used for purposes not intended for recycling, but has been the area where trash, furniture and even household garbage has been placed.

The recycle bins, donated by the Somerset Recycling Center, are only for items specific to recycling, including cardboard, plastics, and papers (newspapers, magazines).

Items that are specifically not legally allowed are things such as household trash, garbage, furniture and so forth.

Mayor Smith said he thought there may have been some confusion among some residents in recent years when the free dumpster days were funded. Those allowed residents in the county and city, over a certain time, to get rid of all their unwanted items at one specific time. However, the recycle bins are not for that purpose.

“I’d hate to lose it,” the mayor said, adding “that’s one of the good things we have to offer the public.”

The bins are a joint project with the city and county, with each entities employees responsible for emptying the containers at least once a week and hauling the recyclable items to the site in Somerset.

The only cost to either government is manpower and fuel and is no cost to those residents who use the bins to get rid of recyclable materials. He further estimated that “over 100” residents legitimately use the bins for the right purpose.

Smith said recently the bins had been moved closer to the city building and there was a possibility that surveillance may be installed in the area, as well as extra police patrol.

The mayor is concerned because he noted the last time the containers were taken to Somerset Recycling, “over 90 percent” of the items found were household trash.

Smith said officials at Somerset Recycling said of all the counties they serve with the recycling bins, this was the only one that does it (uses them for trash) as much and have threatened to take the bins back if the situation persists.

“People, I think, just don’t fully understand the purpose for the recycle bins,” the mayor said, further stating, “the next time household trash is found, they may take them back.”

The mayor said that most of the illegal dumping is done at night and on weekends and continued, “I’d hate to have to put it back behind the fence.”

Residents caught dumping anything other than recyclable materials in the recycle dumpsters could be charged with littering.

“If we were to ever lose it, it would be hard to get it back,” he added.

The mayor is urging residents who use the recycle bins to take only recyclable type items, such as mentioned earlier, and if anyone sees anyone dumping illegally, to report it.

Finally, anyone with questions about what can or cannot be placed legally in the recycling bins can contact City Hall at 387-6011.