Helena could lose public recycling bin

Published 3:01 pm Friday, June 26, 2009

The city of Helena is in danger of losing its public recycling bin if misuse doesn’t stop, said city councilmember Cris Nelson.

“It’s for recycling, and it’s being abused because people are taking their trash up there and just dumping it into the recycling bin instead of the products that are supposed to be there,” Nelson said. “It contaminates the stuff that is supposed to be recycled, and none of it can be recycled. It all has to go to the dump.”

The misuse might result in the bin, which is near the sports complex on Ruffin Road, being removed completely.

“There’s a lot of people who do what they’re supposed to do, and they do use it. It would affect a lot of people,” she said. “They wouldn’t be able to take (recycling) to a convenient place.”

Nelson said if the bin was taken away, it would likely result in recyclable materials being dumped in the trash. That, in turn, would result in increased costs for the city’s trash collection program.

“When we take trash to the landfill, we have to pay for that,” she said. “It’s based on loads, so if we add more trash then it costs us more to take it down there.”

The city is hoping to start a driveway pick-up recycling program soon, which would nullify the problem with the public bin. However, until then, the city must deal with the problem.

“The actions of a few are going to affect the community as a whole,” Nelson said.

Anyone who sees misuse happening should get a description of the vehicle, including the tag number, and report it to the Helena Police Department at 663-6499.