Recent limitations in Valley recycling options, efforts increase at local facilities

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Recycling options in local communities are dwindling.

Indiana State University closed their services for the rest of the year and this summer, Sullivan ended their city-wide curbside recycling option.

While options are slimmer now, you can still do you part.

“A lot of times people don’t realize that recycling is a business and that the technology has changed,” Karrum Nasser, Executive Director of the Vigo County Solid Waste Management District said.

“On average, we collect about 20 tons of recyclables each month.”

Nasser says the facility has seen an increase in items with the closure of ISU’s recycling service. The facility closed from the start of the pandemic until the end of the year, officials say to stay safe during the pandemic.

Operations at the local facility are funded through monthly host fees from the landfill. Nasser says they receive around $30 thousand each month and are able to provide free services to the community like E Waste Day and Tox Away Day.

A part of Nasser’s job, is educating the public on what the facility cannot accept. Those items are shipped to the material processing facility in Indianapolis. Nasser says items considered “contamination” don’t work with equipment at the Indianapolis facility. If they get caught in machinery it shuts down the whole operation.

“I think people would be very surprised if they just stuck with the list we offer is how big of a contribution it would make.”

Another recycling challenge is the expense in transporting items, like glass.

“I call monthly and try to get someone to take glass for me and for right now it’s just not possible for us to do,” Heather Everett with the Sullivan County Solid Waste Management District said.

Heather is fairly “green” in her efforts operating the recycling center in Sullivan County, but enthusiastic. In late July the city of Sullivan ended curbside recycling with Republic Services.

Heather and her husband took over the family run waste management district last year. She says they had to close for about six weeks at the start of the pandemic, but have been open ever since.

“I am here until somebody tells me not to be,” she said.

Heather says she wants to do her part.

“We have a young daughter and we want to make the world a better place, even if it’s just a little bit.”

According to Mayor Duke Bennett’s office, Terre Haute residents can pay for curbside recycling in the city. If they are interested they’ll need to contact Republic Services. For more information, click this link.

As for free services the Vigo County Solid Waste District has four locations: the main facility on E. Haythorne Avenue, Rose-Hulman and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods campuses and behind the West Terre Haute Police Department.

The main facility is open from 8 to 4 Monday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month.

You do have to be a Vigo County resident to recycle.

The Sullivan Recycling Center located at South Broad Street in Sullivan is open Saturdays from 8-1.

A facility in West Terre Haute is seeing an increase in customers with a do-it-yourself recycling service.

Sugar Creek Scrap implemented a system a couple of years ago so customers could bring in their scrap metal at anytime. The general manager of the facility tells us the pandemic has increased the amount of recyclables they have seen.

“We’ve noticed probably a 50-60% jump since then. And then we’ve had people calling and asking, ‘hey, how do we get out stuff here. We do not feel comfortable.’ there are other institutions that do not take them or who have stopped doing business at all. So we just wanted to make sure we helped in that manner,” Sugar Creek Scrap general manager Matthew Hagedorn said.

The facility does not take glass plastic or cardboard. Additional services are provided during regular business hours. The facility also takes e-waste.

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