By Herald Staff

Contamination is on the rise at Dubois County's eight recycling drop-off sites, according to the Dubois County Solid Waste District.

Contamination is considered anything in a recycling bin that is different from what should be recycled there.

“This might be plastics thrown into the cardboard or entire bags of trash ending up in the recycle bins,” said Steve Berg, Dubois County highway superintendent and manager of the collection sites. “We really need to nip this in the bud so the recycling facilities we use continue to accept our loads.”

Dubois County’s eight recycling drop-off sites have managed to stay open throughout pandemic, when many other counties and municipalities closed or limited recycling, according to a solid wast district news release.

"The pandemic has been hard on recycling as a commodity," stated the news release. "Our markets have remained, where other counties have seen some recycling services shrink or disappear completely. Dubois County residents can help ensure our recycling markets continue to be strong and steady by being very careful with what goes in their recycling bins."

Several years ago, contamination started to rise and the county worried that processors would stop accepting the loads of recycling from the county. At that time, according to the news release, getting the word out about the issue to residents helped get the contamination down, allowing the county to continue recycling.

“We need everyone to step up again and make sure they are being careful with what they put in their recycling,” said Carla Striegel-Winner, Solid Waste Management District director. “If you aren’t sure if something can be recycled, find out by asking or going to the website and most importantly, 'when in doubt, throw it out’ and do not put something in the recycling just hoping it is OK. That is contamination!”

Ways residents can help:

• Be certain of what is acceptable for each type of recyclable by referring to the brochure, asking the attendant or reading the information and signage. If in doubt, throw it out.

• Make sure you are putting your items in the correct bin.

• Empty your bags or containers of recyclables into the bins. Bags can tangle in the recycling equipment.

• Report to the attendant if you see contamination in the bin, or if you accidentally did it.

• Check out the website www.duboiscountyrecycles.org to search the Waste Wizard, to download the recycling brochure, or to find other info abut the solid waste district.

Information on recycling in Dubois County can be found at www.duboiscountyrecycles.org. For questions on proper recycling, residents may ask their site attendant or call the Highway Department at 812-482-5505 or the Solid Waste District at 812-482-7865.