Is a lack of recycling bins causing our waste to be wasted away?

West Lafayette has a crazy amount of apartment complexes, so you can imagine how much waste is produced on the properties. Plus, the city is still growing.

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 11:43 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- West Lafayette has a crazy amount of apartment complexes, so you can imagine how much waste is produced on the properties. Plus, the city is still growing.

Newer buildings like the downtown high rises are planning for that with recycling, but it's an option that most complexes in the city don't currently have. That means a lot of that waste isn't being separated.

People produce a lot of trash every day.

"The cat food is the worst."

West Lafayette Street Commissioner Ben Anderson really knows trash.

"You can deal with the beer and you can deal with the soda cans and all the smell that comes with that, but them cat food cans- it is righteous," Anderson said.

There's one trend News 18 noticed at local apartment complexes that, like an empty cat food can, is total garbage.

Recycling bins don't exist on several properties throughout West Lafayette, leaving residents to dispose of their recyclables the only way provided; in the trash.

Purdue Student Mikayla Melin's apartment complex does not have recycling bins on the property, but recycling has always been important to her family.

"My dad would take us every week," Melin said. "He was like 'okay let's make sure to put the recycles in the recycles.'"

Anderson says the West Lafayette Recycling Department sees about 525 cars per day dropping off items, but the city is still missing out on a lot.

"You're probably talking a small percentage of probably 20-25% of those apartment units that probably offer recycling at their location," Anderson said.

News 18 went to a couple complexes asking why they don't have recycling bins. They didn't want to go on camera, but both said they used to have bins on the property. 

One told us that residents weren't using them properly, and the other said they would like to have them back, but it's expensive.

But there's good news-

"Going forward, any project that happens in West Lafayette that if you're going to build an apartment complex or housing development of any type, that you have a designated area for recycling," Anderson said. 

Making the city's overall goal to not be so wasteful with our waste.

"It takes two seconds out of your day, and it does so much for the Earth," Melin said.

Anderson said if you're looking to start recycling to start with just one item. If you typically go through a lot of cans, start separating now, because a small start can go a long way.

If you're looking for a way to dispose of your items properly- click here to view a list of nearby drop off locations in Tippecanoe County. 

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