MOUNT VERNON — With the Rumpke Recycling Center on Columbus Road set to close after the first of the year, the city, county and solid waste district are still looking for ways to fill the gap that closing will create.
The Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow Solid Waste District is already figuring on an increase of more than $100,000 in its budget for 2017.
The Solid Waste District has had to increase its budget for the recycling bins it supplies in the townships and villages by about $117,000 in Knox County for 2017, Solid Waste District Director Jen Hicks said. Those bins are supplied and maintained by Rumpke, which will benefit from the higher cost of the contract. That means the district has to drop its grant program, Hicks said, which helped nonprofit sites and business set up recycling programs.
About $17,000 of that increase is marked to add dumpsters in the village of Gambier, where village employees have been collecting the recyclables and hauling them to the Rumpke recycling center.
Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University are also both affected, said Knox County Recycling Coordinator Randy Canterbury.
“Kenyon does its own recycling program,” he said, “and takes all its glass to Rumpke. I also talked to Mount Vernon Nazarene University, which has a lot of cardboard, which they haul to Rumpke.
“Here at the county, we produce a lot of paper and have been taking a pickup load of 300 to 400 pounds of paper a week to Rumpke.”
He also noted that with the Rumpke option gone, the Solid Waste District may have to add additional dumpsters at the busiest township sites.
Mayor Richard Mavis has said that although trash haulers in the city are required to offer curbside recycling services, some people still take their recyclables to the center and some rely on the sale of cans and other scrap metal for income. Residents of apartment complexes also use the facility because the curbside service is not offered in those complexes.
All trash haulers in the city have been reminded about the recycling requirement.
Mavis has talked to City Council about the situation to keep them up to date and said they have been working closely with the solid waste district.
He has said they have been looking at ways to have a drop-off option in the city but the cost of having a manned center is a strong count against that. Unmanned locations, he said, had tended to have problems with overflowing bins, loose trash and vandalism.
However, the district covering Licking County has at least three unmanned dropoff sites in Newark and Heath and they will be contacted to see how they have coped with the problems.
Canterbury said he expects the bins the district places in each township on a regular basis will be used by more people.
He said he has also talked to the Republic transfer station on Tilden Avenue, but there is a fee for any material dropped off there.
He noted that the other haulers, some of whom took recyclables to the Rumpke center here, will now have to take the material to the Rumpke centers in Columbus or Mansfield or to other recycling operations.
Rumpke had planned to close the recycling center on Columbus Road Jan. 1, 2017, but Rumpke spokesman Jonathan Kissell said they have agreed to keep it available for drop-offs the first two weeks of January. However, the buyback operation will still cease as of Jan. 1, 2017.
He said the company has not made any decisions about what to do with the Columbus Road Center, but said they are always open to talk to potential purchasers.
The Rumpke closing will also affect Coshocton County, because the recycling program there brought its material to Rumpke in Mount Vernon.