DARKE COUNTY — When Ohio passed its first solid waste law in the 1960s, garbage management consisted of more than 1,300 smelly, open dumps, according to the Ohio Environmental Council. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and local health departments shut down those dumps and replaced them with landfills.
By the late 1980s, landfills in Ohio were facing a crisis, with 67 of Ohio’s 88 counties’ landfill space nearing capacity and out-of-state garbage imports taking up even more.
In 1988, the General Assembly overhauled the Solid Waste Law to reduce landfill dependence, implement waste reduction and recycling plans, and restrict the dumping of items deemed hazardous. With the new management plan, solid waste districts were established in the counties.
Part of the Darke County Waste Management District’s mission is to implement programs to reduce, reuse and recycle at least 50 percent of the waste generated by local businesses and residents. The district also is required to ensure that 90 percent of the county residents have access to recycling, or to provide data that 25 percent (or more) of residents are actually participating in recycling programs.
As a means to this end, permanent recycling drop boxes are located in the villages of Ansonia, Gettysburg, New Madison, New Weston, Palestine, Pitsburg, Union City, Wayne Lakes, Arcanum, Hollansburg, Versailles and North Star, as well as Butler Township, Rumpke Waste Inc., 1 Shot Services near Gettysburg and at all area schools.
Acceptable items include the following:
-Plastic bottles and jugs
-Aluminum and metal cans
-Cereal and snack boxes
-Cardboard (flattened to 2feet by 3 feet)
-Newspaper with inserts
-Junk mail and phone books
-Empty aerosol cans (tips removed)
-Glass jars and bottles
-Magazines and catalogs
-Office and computer paper
-Cartons (juice, milk and egg substitute containers)
-Clean pizza boxes (free of food and grease)
Contrary to popular belief, labels do not need to be removed. All aseptic and gable top cartons found in grocery stores today can be recycled. They should be emptied and flattened, then the cap may be reattached. Envelopes with windows also are acceptable for recycling, and the windows do not need to be removed.
Items that should not be put in recycling bins include the following:
-Food or yard waste
-Syringes or medical waste
-Ceramics or dishes
-Pots or pans (including disposable aluminum pie and baking pans)
-Foil juice pouches
-Toys or clothing
Plastic bags should not be mixed into recycling because they damage machines used to sort other recyclables. However, many grocery stores accept plastic bags for recycling. Specially treated paper (such as photos), laminated paper or contaminated paper (such as paper towels and tissues) cannot be recycled. Recyclables should not be placed in grocery or trash bags, but they should instead be placed loose in the bin, cart or drop-off box.
Curbside recycling is now available in Greenville, Arcanum and Versailles.
Recycling not only benefits environmentally, it also benefits economically. Because waste fees are based on weight, municipalities — and by extension, their residents — save money the more people recycle instead of putting recyclables into the waste stream. However, nonrecyclables should never be placed in the recycling bins, because contamination of the recycling stream can cause the entire load to be unusable and have to be discarded into landfill.
Tires can be recycled during the annual tire recycling day, this year to be Sept. 24. Passenger tires will be accepted for free, up to a maximum of 15 passenger tires per Darke County address. Semi/truck and tractor tires will be accepted for a fee, based on the current Rumpke rate. Preregistration is required and will be from Sept. 2 through 16.
Recycling events occur throughout the year for special items, including Christmas trees, appliances and electronics. To see the latest schedule for these events, visit http://co.darke.oh.us/solidwaste/recyclingevents.html.