The Starke County Environmental Management District is looking into alternatives to the drop-off recycling bins placed at locations around the county. Last week the ones in both North Judson and Knox were pulled due to excessive dumping of trash and other non-recyclable items in and around the containers.
The county still maintains five drop-off sites: 6996 S. State Road 10 in Knox, which is behind the Bass Lake Property Owners Association building; 4820 N. State Road 23 in Grovertown, which is east of the Starke County EMS building; West Plymouth Street in Hamlet, underneath the town’s water tower; 7784 N. SR 23 in Walkerton, in the north parking lot of the Koontz Lake Fire Department; and across from the San Pierre Fire Station at the Corner of San Pierre Road and Fisher Street.
After a lengthy and at times spirited discussion, environmental district board members agreed that providing curbside recycling totes to rural residents is the most workable solution. Knox has offered that for several years. Koontz Lake and Hamlet also have curbside recycling, and North Judson is implementing it Aug. 1.
Together those communities equal about 3,000 households served by curbside recycling, which leaves 9,000 with minimal options.
A representative from Republic Services says mandating curbside recycling pickup keeps costs down due to improved efficiency. He says the county could also realize greater savings by entering into a longer-term contract.
The board also discussed adding trash pickup for rural residents as a way to possibly realize additional savings. However, opinions of those at the meeting were mixed, and it was noted the items go into separate trucks.
For now the board is just gathering information in order to present a proposal to the Starke County Commissioners for consideration in the next few months. They want quotes on mandatory and optional curbside recycling and recycling coupled with trash pickup.