TIPPECANOE, Ind. (WLFI) — A brand new recycling facility is not in Tippecanoe County's future.
The county has decided to make the Trash Transfer Station located at 2770 N. 9th St. in Lafayette the official county recycling center. Last year, it was set to be a temporary location for recycling drop-off while the county worked on either building a new facility or finding another 24-7 location but operations at the transfer station have actually been running smoothly according to county commissioners.
May 2020 will mark a year since Tippecanoe County took on the task of providing additional recycling services. This comes after the West Lafayette Street Department had to close its 24-7 recycling drop-off center due to needing the space for other city operations. This facility served as the county's main drop-off recycling hub for nearly 20 years.
County Commissioner Tracy Brown doesn’t believe a new center is necessary since the recycling process at the Trash Transfer Station is flowing so well. Also, funding a new recycling facility can be costly.
“Right now, there's absolutely no money in recycling,” said Brown.
The Trash Transfer Station is owned by the county and managed by Best Way Disposal. While recycling is great for the environment, Amy Krzton-Presson, a recycling educator with the Tippecanoe County Solid Waste District said businesses feel the burden when the market for materials is low.
“Those materials have to go to a private business that has to make a profit or they can't continue to operate their business if they're not making a profit,” said Krzton-Presson. “If a material is not profitable then they can’t get it recycled because they can’t afford to.”
All the materials that were recyclable at the former drop-off center in West Lafayette can also be accepted at the new location on N. Ninth St. This includes plastic, glass, metals, mixed paper, and corrugated cardboard. Food waste and cooking oil bins are still available for drop-off at the West Lafayette Street Department.
Krzton-Presson said the main recyclable materials are plastic bottles and jugs and they should be discarded individually rather than contained in one bag, she said when the items are loose it makes the recycling process run more smoothly on the sorting machines. She said flexible plastics like grocery bags, garden hoses, extension cords are not good for recycling since they can get tangled in the machines.
The county hosts a bi-annual electronic waste collection day in the spring and fall to help get rid of items that can’t go through recycling centers. Purdue Sustainability is hosting an E-Waste Drive on Saturday, Mar. 28 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ernest C. Young Hall, located at 155 S. Grant St., West Lafayette.
The Trash Transfer Station is not 24-7 like the former West Lafayette facility, its hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. But it's operating much smoother since workers are on-site to monitor what's going into the bins.
“All in all, pretty pleased with what's going on it is very clear that people in our community, our hometown care about recycling and they participate both in the cities with curbside service and with the drop off sites in the county,” said Brown.
As the weather starts to warm up, the county is considering extending the Trash Transfer Station hours of operation. Other drop-off locations include East Tipp Middle School, a recycle trailer in the town of Stockwell, and Southwestern Middle School. Those are all 24-7 drop off stations and those materials are taken to the Trash Transfer Station.