It costs money to maintain the six recycling centers throughout Warren County.
One site in particular, Pleasant Township, has formally asked the Warren County Commissioners to conduct a "...review of the fees associated with emptying the bins and to see if another fair alternative can be reached," Lea Ann Adams, township secretary-treasurer wrote in a letter to the commissioners dated June 20.
According to Darlene Peterson, recycling coordinator for the Warren County Solid Waste Authority, the cost to pay Veolia Environmental Services to remove items from the bins is split between the authority and Pleasant Township.
Recycling bins at Pleasant Township site
"The time and effort Pleasant Township uses to maintain, and the expense of having the recycling bins emptied, has become costly to the taxpayers of Pleasant Township," Adams wrote. "The supervisors made an unsuccessful attempt to have neighboring townships with no recycling drop-off site make a donation toward the cost of have the bins emptied."
Last November, the Pleasant Township supervisors nearly axed the program after household garbage and electronics left at the site nearly doubled the cost of the program, Pleasant Township Supervisor Arden Knapp said.
"Trying to get people to recycle properly is a problem," Peterson said. "People think recycling is free. It's not, it's expensive."
It takes time and money to sort out the televisions, satellite dishes and diapers that are mixed in with the recyclables.
"The garbage that was being put in there has gotten better but hasn't totally gone away. Occasionally we still have issues," Adams said. "We still have to constantly monitor it."
When Pleasant Township began verifying the addresses of persons using the recycling center, they found neighboring township residents and even a commercial business in Warren were using it.
"Residents do like it and would like it to continue," Adams said, adding that every bin hauled off by Veolia is partially paid for by the township.
Knapp said the township receives no reimbursement for recycling and estimated the cost paid per month to the authority at $225.
The Pleasant Township supervisors decided to table the issue during their monthly meeting Tuesday evening "until after the county has taken care of whatever the problems are with solid waste," Knapp said.
"We're just waiting for them to see what they're going to do, because the solid waste authority said they're broke," he said.
Glade Township Supervisor Joe Scully said that township pays $150 per dumpster to be hauled away, sometimes several times a month.
"It is getting expensive to the townships and I agree with Pleasant that it's a nice service, but it's not fair to the taxpayers," he said.
In the past, Glade Township has signed a one-year contract with the authority to remove the bins.
"Each year it goes up a little bit, which you understand, but it's getting to now, and I agree with Pleasant, it's starting to be a burden on the township taxpayers," Scully said. "We have to make our mind up if we are going to renew our contract in our September meeting."
The authority picks up the other half of the cost to remove the bins, and Peterson said the authority is "living off the investment that was set up to close the landfill and maintain it."
When Grunderville Landfill closed in 1992, the authority received $24.91 per ton from haulers who picked up trash in the county and took it to a landfill outside of the county.
"It financed everything," Peterson said.
That went on until 2006 when a lawsuit filed by the International Haulers Association stopped the surcharge.
"That's where we lost all of our money," she said.
The authority is left with monitoring and maintaining the landfill and submitting reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Peterson said.
With limited funds, every item even a plastic milk carton that hasn't been flattened costs the authority and the townships money.
"People need to know, they need to step on their plastic bottles, milk cartons, it all takes up space and is expensive," Peterson said.
Public meetings to show what items could properly be recycled were held when the bins were set up in Columbus, Glade, Pleasant, Cherry Grove, Sheffield and Eldred townships and, Peterson said, the meeting were poorly attended.
"People have to take responsibility for their own things," Peterson said. "It's just not free anymore and they have to use a little bit of good judgment."