Dumpsters ‘dumped’ due to overuse

Recycling will continue for now, but the convenience of dumping household trash in the Rec Park dumpsters is no longer an option.

On Monday, Mayor Pat Taylor sent word that due to misuse and popularity – resulting in smelly leakage from dumpsters – the three dumpsters have been removed from the Rec Park.

“The dumpsters at the Rec Park were being overused and complaints were made about the odor and their leaking down the parking lot into the road,” explained the mayor. “The three trash dumpsters next to the recycling trailer were removed early this week.”

However, like always, household garbage can be taken to the recycling centers on Buck Creek and Rich Gap roads.

Citizens in town pay for garbage pick-up twice a week at their homes but the convenience of the dumpsters at the Rec Park meant not having to wait for “garbage day” to dispose of waste.

The town planted one dumpster at the Rec Park last fall but that soon increased to two and just recently three.

Public Works Director Lamar Nix said the popularity of the “convenience” did it in.

“The third dumpster, which was recently added, and the others have been heavily used over the last two months,” he said.

The dumpsters at the Recreation Center were being overused and complaints were made about the odor and their leaking down the parking lot into the road.

Initially, the Town Board hoped that having dumpsters for household trash would help alleviate the bear problem by keeping people from putting it out between trash day pickups, alleviate the problem of “storing” trash until trash day and keep people from illegally using commercial dumpsters, particularly on Oak Street.

“We started with one dumpster with the idea residents with a bag or two of garbage would use it occasionally when recycling. In recent weeks, I have seen cars come up and drop off loads of trash bags – I mean 8 or 10 jammed in a Subaru or pickup,” said the mayor. “This made us realize people in the county – outside the town limits – use it as a place to take their trash.”

Mayor Taylor said the Rec Park’s dirt lot on Foreman Road isn’t an option either.

“The Rec Park is not suited for a trash disposal facility. We have children in the small house near the dumpsters. Moving the dumpsters to the lower parking lot would just exacerbate the problem,” he said.

Nix said the mayor said it best.

“They were overused, there have been complaints about the odor, the fact that they are unsightly and all of this in close proximity of children within the Rec Park,” he said.

In addition, the town has to transport and pay for the trash at the county’s tipping station on Rich Gap Road.

“The town and county need to come up with a new approach,” said the mayor.

Mayor Taylor said for now, the recycling trailer where people can recycle plastics, cans, paper and cardboard will stay.

Contaminates like Styrofoam and plastic are routinely thrown into the cardboard-only receptacle.

However, he said currently the cardboard station at the Rec Park is experiencing a high level of contamination.

“If users continue to place plastics, papers and Styrofoam in the cardboard bin, that service will also be terminated.”

In his June 27 “Mayor on Duty” column, Taylor noted dumpster abuse at the Rec Park where someone had left paint cans for disposal.

At this point, Mayor Taylor said the dumpsters will not return saying “it was an experimental service.”

He said the misuse, overuse and contamination at the dumpster area has been a growing problem.

“We were going to shut it down but delayed the decision until after the 4th.”

By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper
Photos by Mayor Pat Taylor & Jim Lewicki

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