The Ottumwa Courier

December 30, 2013

'Tis the season for increased trash removal

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — With all of the presents, food and decorations that come with the holiday season each year, there is a high amount of garbage as a result.

The Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center and Bridge City Sanitation are charged with collecting the trash and recyclables that Ottumwans discard, and during the time around Thanksgiving and Christmas every year they are busier than ever.

According to Janice Bain, Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center Coordinator, the Recycling Center sees an increase in recycling during the last few months of the year almost annually.

“Some years we are seeing quite a bit more,” she said. “It really just depends on the year.”

James Hurley, Manager at Bridge City Sanitation, echoed that statement, saying that they usually see plenty of the normal Christmas items — boxes and wrapping paper — to go along with the everyday trash they usually pick up.

“Usually the holidays are the heaviest,” he said.

Although everyone is encouraged to recycle as much as possible, there are some things that come from the holiday season that shouldn’t be recycled.

“We get a lot of wrapping paper, which is unfortunately not something we want,” Bain said.

Some forms of wrapping paper are recyclable, but, according to Bain, there are certain kinds that aren’t supposed to be. Since there is not a clear-cut way to tell the difference between which wrapping paper can be recycled and which cannot, the Recycling Center asks that no wrapping paper be discarded as a recyclable.

To try and combat all of the added waste and recycling from the holiday season, the Recycling Center and Bridge City Sanitation are taking steps to try and stay ahead of the game.

The Recycling Center is performing a pilot program to try and increase the amount of recycling throughout the city and to see if a larger container makes for more recycling. They purchased 250 35-gallon carts fitted with lids to give to participants in the study.

After the carts are given to homeowners, the Recycling Center will track the use of them to determine if the bigger carts make for more recycling. Then, if the results suggest the bigger carts help, they will order another 250 carts.

“We hope that we see an increase in recycling. It will be difficult to tell, but our hope is to get another 250 by the time the next budget is made in July,” Bain said.

As for Bridge City Sanitation, they try to stock up on manpower during the holiday season to try and help with the overabundance of trash. According to Hurley, they have a spare truck that they use for the busiest times of the year.

“We usually try to run the spare truck with extra workers, but it has been tough this year,” he said.

With all of the added trash that comes from the holiday season, the turning of the new year is surely a welcomed relief for those in the recycling and sanitation business.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh