Upgrading to recycling carts has led to a sizable uptick in recycling in Brownstown.
According to numbers provided by Rumpke of Indiana, town residents recycled a record 23,060 pounds in August.
Since September, residents have recycled between 15,000 and 21,000 pounds each month.
That’s compared to November 2015 to June of this year, when the number of pounds recycled never reached 10,000.
The town changed from red recycling bins to green 95-gallon recycling carts in July, but it took until September to get the entire town supplied. The carts are similar to the size of the brown carts residents use for trash.
Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said it is great to see the recycling numbers increase.
“I expected some increase. A 33 percent increase and more depending on the month is exceptional,” he said. “I was shocked to see the continual rise and the consistent increase over the first four months. Debbie Hackman of solid waste management is exceptionally pleased, also. The town of Brownstown is proud of our continued improvement in trash and recycling service.”
Willey said he believes more people are recycling because of the larger cart, which has a lid, is easier to move and is more appealing to residents.
“We allowed residents to use more than one recycling tote before the change, but more capacity, convenience and enclosed storage have contributed to the additional number of participants,” he said. “We have also renewed the awareness of everything that can be recycled through our new sewage bills. We have more space to devote to the weeks recycling is picked up and what can be recycled.”
With the change to a recycling cart, the monthly charge for trash and recycling is $12.55 — $9.05 for trash and $3.50 for recycling. Before the change, residents had been paying $11.35. The charges are listed as a line item on their sewer bill.
Trash is picked up every Thursday in Brownstown, while recycling is every other Thursday. Friday is the backup day in the event of major holidays or hazardous weather Thursday. Separate trucks pick up recycling and trash.
Willey said the town has more than 950 potential households that can recycle. If a resident needs a recycling cart, the town can provide one.
“Most town residents that recycle are very pleased with the carts and have noticed their trash carts do not overflow each week because of their increased participation in recycling,” he said. “The odor has diminished, and the carts are not overflowing by the time the two-week recycle pickup arrives, like when using the totes.”
A couple of town residents said they have liked the switch to recycling carts.
“We love it,” Jamie Temple said. “It cuts down on the amount of trash in our trash container. We are a full recycling family now.”
Matthew Morris said his family recycles more because of the recycling cart.
“It is usually full when they pick it up every other week,” he said. “I’m not crazy about the price jump, but I do understand there is more personnel, transport and processing involved.”
Temple said she would like to see the town start a cleanup day similar to Seymour’s Make Seymour Shine Week in April. That allows residences and small businesses to place certain items curbside for free pickup by the Seymour Department of Public Works.
Crothersville, which contracts with Rumpke for trash and recycling pickup, has semiannual large trash pickups — one in May and one in October. The town pays Rumpke $75 per hour for that service.
Rumpke bills Brownstown and Crothersville for trash and recycling collection, and the residents’ monthly fee is based on the number of units.
The Jackson County Solid Waste Management District, which does business as Jackson County Recycling District, provides each of the towns with a $7,200 subsidy per year toward the cost of recycling as long as the trash goes to a Jackson County landfill. That money goes into each town’s general fund.
Rumpke takes the recycling to Cincinnati, Ohio.
For every ton of trash that goes into the landfill, Rumpke pays the solid waste management district a dollar.
Hackman said the annual amount the towns receive started out at $4,800 a few years ago but has since increased to $7,200. That helps Hackman support local recycling programs, and no tax dollars have to be collected.
Brownstown residents changed from recycling bins to 95-gallon recycling carts in July. Since then, the town has seen an increase in the number of pounds recycled.
Acceptable items to recycle through the Brownstown curbside program
Plastic: Plastic bottles No. 1 through 7, including soda, milk, detergent, shampoo and small-mouth bottles (labels do not need to be removed; rinse and flatten)
Glass: Clear brown and green glass bottles and jars in which food products are packaged (labels do not need to be removed; rinse)
Paper: Newspaper, including glossy inserts; magazines and catalogs up to 1 inch thick; cardboard broken down into 2-foot-by-2-foot pieces; paperboard, including cereal and gift boxes; mixed office paper; junk mail; paper bags (paper products may be separated from other materials using paper bags)
Cans: Aluminum and bi-metal beverage cans; steel food/tin cans; empty aerosol cans (labels do not need to be removed; rinse and flatten)
Recycling pickup is every other Thursday. In the event of a major holiday or hazardous weather, pickup will be Friday.
All recyclables must be placed at the curb in a Rumpke recycling cart or other acceptable recycling container, including store-purchased recycling bins similar in size and shape and clearly marked recyclable. Brownstown residents needing a recycling cart may stop by the town hall, 200 W. Walnut St.
For information, call Rumpke at 800-678-6753 or visit rumpkerecycling.com.