In recent months, Crestonians have noticed it difficult to find a place to take their recyclables like glass, paper and plastics.
Why the difficulty? Well, there used to be four big green bins in city limits for the public to dispose of recyclable materials. Those bins were located at Hy-Vee, True Value, Fareway and Prairie Solid Waste Recycling.
However, misuse by the public in and around the recycling bins has resulted in two Creston businesses removing recycling bins from their property. Those businesses removing bins were Hy-Vee and True Value.
“We’ve dealt with the mess for five years,” said Kent Sinn, owner of Creston True Value, “and enough was enough. The bins would be full and instead of coming back later, the public just piles up their cardboard, paper and trash next to the bin. Well, on windy day, it would blow all over our parking lot and we’d have to send out an employee to chase it all down.”
Amy Schultes, manager at Prairie Solid Waste Agency, said the reason the bins are constantly full is two-fold.
One, there are a lack of bins available to the public, therefore, they fill up quickly. And secondly — under the current contract — Waste Management only empties the recycling bins twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays.
“There will be another bin taken to Fareway today,” Schultes said. “So, there will be two bins at Fareway now to help with overflow. And, we will monitor those bins to see if we need to start having Waste Management come more than twice per week.”
Take the effort
With True Value and Hy-Vee removing their bins, Crestonians now only have two options to take recycling in city limits. Those options are the two bins now at Fareway in uptown Creston and Prairie Solid Waste Recycling on Highway 34 on the western part of town.
“And most people aren’t even aware a bin exists at Prairie Solid Waste Recycling,” Schultes said.
That means almost all recyclables for the entire city of Creston are currently being taken to Fareway. Mark Benbow, manager at Fareway, said he deals with the same problems that True Value and Hy-Vee encountered.
“Sometimes it doesn’t matter if the bins are full or not,” Benbow said. “I have actually went out there myself, picked up the recyclables other people left next to the bin and put the material in the holes. So, I know it is possible to get it in the holes. It does take a little effort, though. I guess if we are one of the only bins left, people better be nice because we don’t want a trashy parking lot (at Fareway.) We want a clean establishment.”
Schultes is having discussions with other Creston businesses right now asking for permission to place a recycling bin in their parking lot. However, she’s not having much luck.
“The bin occupies a lot of space in their parking lot,” Schultes said, “and they are concerned they may run into the same problems other businesses are having with the trash.”
If you’re interested, however, contact Schultes at 641-202-6700.
Iona Allen, city clerk in Corning, and Ty Wheeler, city administrator in Osceola, both said their respective cities had similar problems with the public misusing the recycling bins. Wheeler said often times the public would dump trash in the recycling bins.
“The worst was when people dumped kitty litter in the recycling bin,” Wheeler said.
However, Wheeler and Allen both agreed those problems came to a halt once their respective cities began offering curbside recycling. Wheeler noted it’s much easier to identify misuse now with curbside recycling because everyone has their own recycling receptacle.
But, curbside recycling is probably costly, right?
Wheeler said Osceola City Council recently switched from Waste Management to Jim’s Sanitation, and Osceola residents pay $3.65 per month for curbside recycling with Jim’s Sanitation. Residents have two 96-gallon receptacles — one for waste and one for recycling.
Wheeler said the recycling receptacle has a yellow lid and is picked up by Jim’s Sanitation every other week.
Meanwhile, Corning currently has curbside recycling through Waste Management. Allen said their residents pay $3.91 per month for curbside recycling. They also have two receptacles and recycling is picked up every other week.
“Nobody balked at all about paying the $3 for curbside recycling,” Allen said. “People like the convenience. It’s been a win all the way around for the Corning community.”
So, what about Creston? Could Crestonians get curbside recycling?
Mike Taylor, Creston city administrator, said the city of Creston is currently in the fifth year of a seven-year contract with Waste Management for waste removal services. That contract expires in June 2016. However, curbside recycling is not part of that current contract with the city of Creston.
“We could look at adding curbside recycling before the contract ends (in 2016),” Taylor said. “Both the city and Waste Management would have to be willing to open the contract back up. I don’t know if now is the right time, though. My stance is we wait until the contract expires. However, I don’t disagree that we need to sit down at some point and take a hard look at the future of recycling in Creston.”