Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

March 7, 2013

It’s simple

Recycling bins are for recycling only; not for trash

What part of  the “For Recycling Only” signs posted on Allegany County recycling bins is hard to understand?

We have to ask that question, based on a report from Allegany County government that people are continuing to dump trash into recycling bins behind the county office building.

The county has the bins hauled to a processor who has warned county officials that it will no longer take the contaminated glass, according to Public Works Director Paul Kahl. The county has already had to pay to have the bins taken to the landfill for disposal when this happens.

This is not the first time the county has had problems with contaminated recycling bins. This has historically been an issue at the Cumberland site compared to the bins at the landfill, which is a monitored location, Kahl said.

A couple of years ago one of the recycling bins at the Tri-Towns Plaza near Westernport was taken out of service for decontamination purposes because someone selected it as a repository for such things as a car muffler, construction debris and garbage, instead of the old newspapers and aluminum cans it was meant to hold. Used diapers, deer carcasses and cans containing used hypodermic needles also have found their way into our recycling bins.

The problem this causes is not just one of inconvenience. Time and money are also wasted because workers who deal with the contents of these bins must sort out the unwanted items, but — most important of all — they are exposed to contaminants that could put their health at risk.

The county has enough of a challenge in convincing its residents to recycle materials. Having recycling bins used as trash depositories is an impediment that is not only unnecessary — but also rude and inconsiderate.

There are proper means for disposing of garbage. Please use them, and not our recycling bins.

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