City council visits recycling dumpster lock-down policy
Because the Perry Recycling Dumpsters dumped trash, appliances, windows, furniture, and other non-recyclable items, the Perry Public Works Department installed chains on the dumpsters to prevent the lids from opening fully. The lids can be wedged open to facilitate deposit.
The costs and benefits of the Perry recycling system were brought up for discussion at Monday’s Perry City Council meeting held through Zoom.
“I’m so sick of trying to put things in our dumpsters, our cans, our bottles, etc.,” said Chuck Schott, a member of Perry City Council, to his fellow councilors. “Those lids – and I understand why they’re screwed on. I understand the problems though, boy! For those of us who do things right and try to be careful, it really is a pain for the royal bum to get out of these things bit by bit and find a hole to slide in. “
Due to the collapse of the global market for recycled materials, the city discontinued its roadside recycling collection system in August 2018 and launched a central drop-off system.
In August 2020, chains were placed on the recycling dumpsters to prevent the lids from opening fully. The aim was to stop the open dumping of large objects into the dumpster.
If the recycling dumpsters were contaminated with rubbish, appliances, furniture and other non-recyclable materials, they were rejected at the recycling center in Des Moines all Instead, the cargo had to be taken to the landfill.
The chains worked. Before the chains were placed, the city regularly sent contaminated recycling quantities to the landfill. Since the chains were attached to the dumpsters, contaminated cargoes have practically disappeared.
The chains have also created inconvenience to the process. Schott said he recently found one of the roll-off recycling dumpsters to be unchained and felt an intoxicating sense of liberation.
“In this particular case, I could throw the lid back and throw it away,” he said. “I wish we could do something that makes it easier and better for ordinary, good citizens to get their things there and toss in the dumpsters efficiently and easily.”
Schott’s comment met with enthusiastic approval from the other council members.
“I agree,” said Barb Wolling, a member of the third parish council. “I’ve talked to Josh about it too, and it’s not good.” Josh Wuebker is the assistant director of the Perry Public Works Department.
“I’ve had people contacting me too,” said Dean Berkland, a member of the first ward council, “and I went down there and you can’t open that.” It’s stupid to even have them when we have a problem like this. “
Vicki Klein, a colleague from Schott, said that winter time makes recycling even more difficult.
“I’ve been down there and used them too, and it’s hard,” Klein said. “In winter, especially when it’s cold and the wind is blowing, it makes it worse, so I agree with you, Chuck, but I don’t know what the answer would be.”
Schott said a review of the dumpster chains might be appropriate.
“I don’t know what the answer is either,” he said, “but I think maybe we should look at what other cities may have come up with. I am not blaming anyone because I understand why we accepted and why we did, but heaven! I wish we could improve in some way. “
Perry Mayor John Andorf said he is looking for the biggest gaps in which to drop his items.
“I agree that it is a problem if you can’t open the lids,” Andorf said, “but I’ve found that some lids open wider than others, so I’m looking for those, and these are the ones that I use to be honest. “
Dr. Randy McCaulley, member of the second parish council, also gave a tip for using the recycle dumpsters.
“I use the recycle center every week,” said McCaulley. “I take a box and don’t disassemble it. I keep it intact. I take this box and put it in the opening and it opens the lid a little more. So now I have both hands with which I can throw things in. “
All of the council members agreed that McCaulley’s idea was a good one.
Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson said an assessment of the options for the waste recycling dumpsters was carried out by Jack Butler and Wuebker, Perry’s public works director, last fall.
“The goal was to actually get things to the recycling center and do what was intended,” Peterson said, and the chained dumpsters have managed to clear contaminated recycling loads.
Butler noted that the city pays a tip fee of $ 37 per ton to dump trash at the Metro Park West landfill north of Perry. In contrast, the city costs $ 100 for every tonne of single-stream recycled materials it discards at International Paper in Des Moines.
“You’re trying to do the right thing,” he said, “and it’ll cost you an arm and a leg to do it.”
Before the dumpster was locked, contamination was a chronic problem, Butler said.
“It was a little bit of everything,” he said. “We phoned the town hall that someone had thrown an air conditioner in it. We had microwaves and glass windows. As long as you can open the lid far enough to put it in there, you’re good to go. That’s why we signed the chain contract. “
Illegal dumping is still happening, Butler said, and he sees no easy way to get rid of it completely.
“Just a few weeks ago,” he said, “it looks like someone bought all of the new furniture and they took it to Pattee Park and dumped it where we dumped our pile of snow, piled it there and just left it. If someone wants to get rid of something, they will do what they want. If there is no one to babysit it, it will be thrown away. That’s just human nature. It’s something we’ve fought for all the years we’ve recycled. Even if we picked up at the curb you would go to the house and pick up the blue trash can and the hell it would all be trash. Then they called City Hall and just got angry because we hadn’t picked up their things. That’s because it’s rubbish and we don’t accept it. So it’s tough. It’s tough.”
Here are the official city rules for using the recycling dumpsters:
The residents of Perry bring their recyclables to the three drop-off points in town:
- on the property east of the public security building
- in the main parking lot at McCreary Center
- on the south side of the soccer field parking lot
Please note that the 8 yard containers at these locations are only intended for residents who have a garbage service at Perry City.
The following articles are accepted:
- Paper Products: Newsprint, Magazines, Junk Mail, Cereal Boxes, Glossy Inserts, Paper Egg Cartons, Twelve Pack Cartons, and Paperback Books. No waxy carton like milk cartons.
- Plastic: Rinse and remove labels. Painted labels are acceptable. Plastic bags are not accepted, but can be recycled at Hy-Vee.
- Metal cans: Rinse and remove labels. Cans don’t need to be flattened. Painted labels are acceptable.
- Aluminum: foil, cake plate, etc. Must be clean.
- Glass, styrofoam and garden waste are not accepted!
Residents can also use a container on the property north of the public safety building to dispose of cardboard. All cardboard must be broken into flat pieces to be accepted.
Garbage of any kind is not accepted and is considered garbage. Violations will result in a fine. All locations are equipped with cameras that monitor and record activities in the area.
For more information, call Perry City Hall at 515-465-2481.