Ammunition, horse manure, tires, batteries — they aren't items one expects to find in a bin labeled for recycling newspaper, glass, plastics, cardboard and aluminum.
But they are among the items that frequently turned up at the bin provided by the City of Metropolis and Bulldog Systems. And due to their hazardous potential to the health and welfare of those directly involved with the recycling bin, the decision was made Friday to close the service down.
In making the announcement during Monday's Metropolis City Council meeting, Mayor Billy McDaniel said such problems have been ongoing every time the City of Metropolis has provided a recycling bin for residents. Over the years, bins have been set up at the UCC site and the city dog pound. But with the most recent location being behind the city's fire station, city officials and those with Bulldog Systems, the facilitator of the bin, hoped for a different outcome.
"We've tried, we've done everything within our power other than just put a police officer there at all hours of the day and night," McDaniel said. " It has come to the point now where there's not hardly a week or day goes by they're not either throwing tires in it, unacceptable batteries, paint, chemicals. It has been an ongoing problem. We've dealt with it the best we can. We try to go up there once every two to three days. If there's something visible we try to get it out."
McDaniel said firefighters did as they could to monitor activity at the recycling bin but with people "constantly (dropping) off everything that nobody wants at their house from a chair to a couch to car parts," McDaniel said, Bulldog officials on Friday "just (threw) their hands up. They don't know what to do about it. So the recycling bin has been removed."
McDaniel told the council that Bulldog manager Danny Henson and co-owner Rick Lane are looking at other alternatives but for now, there is not a recycling bin in Metropolis and he does not know when or if it'll be brought back.
McDaniel commended, and apologized to, residents who used the bin properly.
"It is unfortunate for many, many people in the community take great pride in that — they work hard at separating their plastics, cans, glass, paper, cardboard and do such a good job (but) there's always a situation where a few people seem like they run it for everyone," he said. "I apologize to the citizens of Metropolis. It was a good thing and just in the time we've had it it's saved a lot of room in the landfill."
The recycling bin was placed at the corner of Eighth and Pearl streets behind the fire station in the early spring of 2009, providing residents the second opportunity to recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and metal.
As other recycling avenues are discussed, Deneal Bullock, McDaniel's administrative assistant and a driving force behind bringing the recycling bin to Metropolis, reminds residents there are other recycling alternatives.
Project Hope accepts aluminum cans and printer cartridges. The recycling project is a fundraiser for the organization.
Boy Scout Troop 101 holds a paper drive the third Saturday of every odd-numbered month, which will be this Saturday. Metropolis residents are asked to leave newspapers only bagged or tied in front of their homes by 9 a.m.; magazines are be collected.