Recycling now requires scenic drive

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Those wishing to recycle plastic milk jugs and juice cartons locally have been out of luck since Walmart stopped collection in August.
Manager Todd VanEssen said the store still recycles internally, but “we’re not a recycling center for the community.”
The decision came from corporate headquarters after other stores around the country became dumping grounds for items considered hazardous waste, such as motor oil and pesticide containers, said a store employee not authorized to speak on the subject.
The store will still accept return of Walmart bags.
Newsprint and magazine recycling also is still available to Iolans, through every six-week paper drives sponsored by local organizations.
Locals wishing to recycle plastic containers must now drive about an hour in order to recycle.
Both Fredonia and Garnett will accept Iola’s recyclables, employees with those county’s collection facilities said.
If people care to come, said Fredonia Recycling Center’s Chad Shaver, “That’s great.”
The center, at 1312 N. Second St., accepts both number one and two plastics.
“We do milk jugs and clear plastics,” said Shaver. “Look at the triangle on the bottom of the plastic,” to be sure of the type, he said.
In addition, Shaver said, “We can’t take anything poisonous. No oil or hazardous materials. And we prefer them clean, with the lids off.”
The center is run by the city of Fredonia as a service to the community, Shaver said.
“We don’t buy anything, but we do get a little something for it,” he said. “It’s never been profitable.”
The town of 2,700 has been offering community and curbside recycling for close to 20 years now, Shaver said. “We also pick up cardboard at restaurants and grocery stores.”
Shaver said response to the program has “really gotten gung-ho over the last five or 10 years.”
In addition to Fredonia’s recyclables, Shaver said the town of Neodesha brings its recyclables by once a week.
The center can take plastics, cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum and tin cans. The center does not accept scrap metal.
Everything is bundled using balers specific to the items. Some of the balers were purchased through grants the community received, Shaver said.
The Fredonia Recycling Center is staffed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, 7 to 4 Tuesdays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. For those who can’t come when the center is open, there are sorting bins in a shed behind the center, Shaver said.
Recycling isn’t a way to make money, Shaver said, but it is a great way to keep one’s community clean.

THE CITY of Garnett, about 3,000 strong, also recycles.
In addtion to their own materials, they send a recycling truck out to Colony, Kincaid, Welda, Westphalia and Harris every month. They will also accept Iola’s plastics.
In addition, they’ll take household hazardous waste, e-waste such as computers, televisions and handheld devices, metals, including scrap metal, colored and clear glass and magazines and newsprint.
“Our recycling center is located at our transfer station,” said Marcia Criqui of the Anderson County Engineers office.
The county asks that people check in at the station, open Mondays through Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., before dropping off recyclables.
Garnett will accept a wider variety of plastics than Fredonia, from milk cartons to pop jugs to small dairy containers, said Criqui.
“We do like them better if they are rinsed out, because they have to be stored until we have a load,” Criqui said. The items are crushed and baled for storage, she said, and unclean containers attract vermin.
E-waste is taken to Topeka for processing every six months or so, said Jerry Luedke, who works at the transfer station.
There is no charge to drop off recyclables, Criqui said, unless an item is a large appliance such as a refrigerator or washing machine.
People can call Jay Sloan, the transfer station head, at 785-448-3109 if they are uncertain about an item, Criqui said.
Garnett also received grants to purchaser forklifts and balers for their recycling efforts, Luedke said. The community has been recycling for about a dozen years, he said.