OTTAWA - Recently Jack Betscher, Putnam County administrator contacted county personnel about some problems the recycling program has been experiencing. According to Betscher, the recycling bins are open 24 hours for the convenience of the people of Putnam County and this is being abused. The recycling bins are being used as a dump for some people that do not want to pay to have their trash removed. "People have left things like grills, dirty diapers, air conditioning units and after the windstorm people left a lot of spoiled food in the recycling bins," said Ashley Siefker, community recycling coordinator. "Someone has even left remains of a deer in a box after they slaughtered it," said Siefker.

The recycling program employees have seen problems before but the acts are becoming more aggressive. During Pioneer Days in Kalida, the bins located in Kalida had locks put on them because of the large crowd and county employees did not want people dumping trash in them. "One of the workers used a lock he had to put on the bin and within 24 hours someone had cut the lock off," said Siefker. The recycling program is trying to get locks purchased through a grant to help with the current situation. "People just throw things in there because they do not want to pay to get rid of it," said Siefker.
The Putnam County recycling program is paid for by the tax payers and rather than doing good, the recycling is hurting the county. When people throw items like a couch in the bin it is taking up space and the people who want to drop off actual recyclable materials cannot. According to Betscher when people throw things like dirty diapers with the recycling, the entire bin is contaminated and none of the items can be used for recycling. "Every county gets a rating and when the items are contaminated, we get a bad rating. All of this information gets sent to the EPA and Putnam County's recycling program looks poor," said Betscher. The numbers for Putnam County's recycling program have decreased. Last year at the end of August the county had an estimate of 500 tons and this year at the end of August the county had an estimate of 472 tons.

Saturday, Sept. 29 is Recycling Day in Putnam County and the educational service center will be holding an event to take items they usually do not accept. A medication collection will be held Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon. If you have any expired or unused medicine around, bring it to the ESC so it can be properly disposed. Other household items that can be brought for safe disposal that is not normally collected are: computers, cell phones, scrap steel appliances (anything a magnets would stick to), lead acid and household alkaline/lithium items, oil, light bulbs (4' fluorescent tubes and household), shoes, toys, clothes, books, mercury (bring in old thermometer and receive a mercury free thermometer), electronics like fax machines, copiers, microwaves, toasters, scanners, DVD players, cameras, stereo equipment, video game equipment, latex and oil based household paints and televisions. No tires will be accepted.

Visit the website for information about what can be recycled and cannot at putnamcountyrecycles.com. If there are any questions you can contact the soil waste and management district at 419-523-3656 or stop by the office in the courthouse. The hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.