Recycling in Pickerington

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Messenger photo by Rachel Scofield
 Jill Perales places plastic bottles into the recycling bin in Pickerington’s Sycamore Park. The bin is located near the pond and the white barn.

When Jill Perales moved to Pickerington three years ago she did not know where to take her recyclables. When she lived in in California the city collected everything from the curb.

It’s relatively easy to find places in Pickerington to recycle paper. In addition to several commercial locations, paper collection bins can be found at all Pickerington schools, the Pickerington Library, and many churches.

The bins belong to a company named Abitibi Consolidated, which is one of the largest manufacturers of newsprint from recycled materials. In addition to office paper, newspapers, and magazines, Abitibi also collects corrugated cardboard. During the recycling process plastic envelope windows and metals are removed. Even metal coil notebooks may be thrown whole into the bins.

The reason for the proliferation of Abitibi bins is that they raise funds for the groups who host them. The more tons of paper collected, the more money per ton a group will collect.

For example, if a bin collects two tons of paper a month, the organization hosting the bin would receive $10, if that same bin collected four tons, the host would receive $60. Schools also earn an additional $500 or $1,000 if they reach specified collection goals, said Kerry Copland Abitibi’s Columbus Area Manager.

For recycling plastic grocery bags and newspaper sleeves, the grocery stores in Pickerington offer recycling bins near their entrances. The small bins look like garbage cans, therefore they can be easily missed.

Perales said it was a full year after moving to Pickerington before she discovered where to recycle her other household items.  She and her husband happened to find the bin when they went fishing at Sycamore Park.

The Sycamore Park bin and an identical bin located at the Violet Township building on Pickerington Road accept many different types of trash. In addition to paper and cardboard boxes, there are doors for plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans and paperboard.

Paperboard is the material from which cereal boxes and tissue containers are constructed. Many recycling companies including Abitibi cannot accept paperboard. It cannot be made into newspapers, Copland said.

The bins are often surrounded by trash that does not fit inside. Perales said the mess at Sycamore Park was especially bad after Christmas.

Although part of the trash pile is due to many people using two bins, some fault lies with the recyclers themselves. Much of the trash littering the locations is cardboard boxes.

 

Fairfield County, who maintains the bins, asks recyclers to flatten boxes and empty cans and bottles.

Pickerington residents want to recycle.  Last fall, the city and Waste Management conducted a test program, said Pickerington Service Manager Edward Drobina.

The city provided 489 residents with recycling bins, which the residents set by the curb like regular garbage cans. Every two weeks the city collected the recycling.

All recyclable items were placed into one bin with no separating necessary.

After the program ended, residents received surveys.  Of the 196 residents who responded, 191 said they would like the city to continue the service. The main criticism from residents was that the city needed to collect the recycling once a week.

Drobina said that the city’s contract with Waste Management ends this fall. At that time Pickerington City Council may decide to add recycling to curbside trash collections.

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