By Linda Dillman
Hot loads, which are a caustic cocktail of trash mixed with recyclables, are forcing the city of
Canal Winchester out of the recycling business later this month.
Waste Management notified the city it will assess a contamination charge of up to $69 per yard depending on the size of the container for excessive non-recyclable material found in recycling bins.
According to Mayor Mike Ebert, each of the five containers in the city’s recycling service center
in a parking lot near Stradley Park, which often overflow, have individual capacities of eight-yards per bin. The containers are picked up eight times a week.
The city pays for the service, but the new fees—if each container is deemed a hot load—could add over $22,000 to the weekly bill.
“We can’t afford that,” Ebert told Canal Winchester City Council during a June 4 work session.
Ebert said recycling is not what it appears to be and has not been since 2015. He said China is the world leader in the acquisition of recyclable material, but is not accepting outside recycled items because they have a glut of inventory.
Quoting from a recent “New York Times” article, Ebert said, “A huge portion of the so-called recycle materials picked up are going directly to the landfills while the customer is paying extra for a recycling service that barely exists.”
Ebert said Waste Management was up front with the city in the past about the recycling industry and market and echoed the same concerns during a May 31 meeting with the mayor and Public Works Director Matt Peoples.
“They (Waste Management) said China is starting to severely impact the market,” said Peoples, who was told the city bins are over 30 percent contaminated with non-recyclable trash. “People want to recycle, but think everything is recyclable. Basically, it’s (city recycling site) turned into a trash dump and it’s not being recycled. It’s littering.”
In addition, city crews are routinely dispatched to pick up the excessive overflow surrounding the bins, compounding the economic impact of recycling.
“Sometimes, they can’t even get to the dumpsters,” said Ebert. “There’s no end to it. There are tons of Amazon boxes left outside the bins.”
Ebert said the city was able to recover addressee information from some of the boxes and dispatched deputies to the properties to inform people they could be fined for littering.
Ebert recommended the city do away with all recycling containers currently in service on city property after notifying residents. Council concurred and the service will end on June 20.
“We’re being charged basically for something that’s gone wrong,” said Councilman Mike Walker.
Councilman Mike Coolman said he stopped by the recycling area during Memorial Day weekend and was appalled by the situation.
“It (trash) was way out into the drive lane of the parking lot,” Coolman said. “There were bags of trash and boxes.”
Following the June 20 closure, residents who wish to recycle items can use the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio’s Drop-Off Recycling Program, with drop-off locations available throughout central Ohio. Locations can be found on SWACO’s website, www.swaco.org.