Waste district: More items went to landfill in 2018


A higher percentage of items collected at the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District Process Center — located at 1103 S. 350 W., Jasper — last year had to go to the landfill than in 2017.

There are several factors that could have attributed to this, District Director Carla Striegel–Winner explained to the solid waste district board this week.

The board went over a summary of the district’s activity and collection, as well as collections at the eight recycling/trash drop-off sites.

For the district’s process center, which accepts many items not accepted at the county’s recycling sites, 77.62 percent of everything collected was not sent to the landfill. In 2017, that amount was 82 percent. “Some tonnage is down,” Striegel–Winner said, “because some electronics are weighing less, like TVs” which are part of the recycling. Also, she added, places that may have purged in 2017, like schools and libraries purging books, may not have done that last year.

The biggest amounts of recyclables collected were 68.6 tons of cardboard, 39 tons of office paper, 37.7 tons of magazines and 27.7 tons of electronic waste.

In 2018, 72.5 tons went to the landfill, which is more than 2017’s total of 66 tons. Striegel–Winner said that more people are using the large-item dumpster. Also, she said, large plastics, like buckets and chairs, that had been recycled in the past are now going to the dumpster as well.

Most of what is collected at the recycling/trash drop-off sites is trash. For 2018, the sites collected 830.6 tons of recycled items and 3,294 tons of waste. Of the recycled items, the biggest tonnages collected were 396.8 tons of cardboard, 108.2 tons of newspapers, 86.4 tons of mixed colored glass, 72.7 tons of magazines, 62.8 tons of plastics and 52.9 tons of junk mail.

Recycling revenue has decreased, from 2017’s $10,000 to 2018’s $6,800. Striegel–Winner explained that the foreign market for recycling has drastically decreased, and come countries aren’t accepting as much recycling as they did in the past. “This may force the United States to create a recycling structure,” she said, “which should have been done in the first place.”

An average of 170 people visited the process center each month in 2018. For the four Twilight Tuesday events, at which the process center was open in the evening, a total of 39 people visited. But center workers noticed an uptick in the number of visitors to the process center during regular hours after a Twilight Tuesday event is announced, Striegel–Winner said.

The number of community-service hours served at the process center was up substantially from 2017. In 2018, the total hours were 258.25; 2017’s total 98.25, which Striegel-Winner said was unusually low.

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