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Reprieve: Bingen Recycling Center May Be Staying Put

County solid waste reconsiders plans

Klickitat County's Solid Waste Department appears to be reconsidering its recent plan to remove the recycling bins in Bingen.

Last month, department director Tim Hopkinson said ongoing contamination of the recycling containers from household garbage would force the county to pull the service. Hopkinson explained that when the garbage was mixed in with the recylables, it made it impossible to handle the load for recycling. As a result, entire loads of paper had to be dumped at the landfill in Roosevelt.

On Monday, however, Hopkinson said he planned to visit the site later in the week, and was proposing a review of the situation. He added that he was hopeful recent news coverage of the problems with the Bingen site would bring better compliance from those using the facility.

"I'm going to suggest to Rabanco [operator of the regional landfill] that we leave the bins in there for awhile," Hopkinson explained.

He said he would be visiting the Bingen recycling site at least once a month to see for himself if problems were continuing.

As configured currently, one container is set aside for glass, with sections marked for clear, brown, and green glass. The other bin is geared to accept paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and plastic containers such as milk jugs.

When full, the containers are hauled to Seattle, for sorting at a huge recycling center. If garbage is present, entire loads may have to be discarded as trash.

"The glass bins are even more dangerous," he said. "There is nothing you can do once you get something mixed in with the glass. But we are not having the problems with the glass, so the glass container will probably remain there even if the other gets pulled."

A brush recycling facility is also at the Bingen site. It is designed to handle only small brush and tree limbs, but it gets abused as well. Some people have left grass clippings and leaves, as well as construction debris.

Hopkinson said he wasn't sure if the dumpings are deliberate, or due to people not realizing what can and can not be processed there.

"Maybe people are thinking, well, it's wood, so it can be chipped. But nails tear up the equipment," Hopkinson explained. "And we're still getting tons of grass clippings and other stuff we can't chip."

Hopkinson pointed out that approximately 200 bags of grass and other unacceptable debris was recently removed from the brush site in Bingen.

In a related initiative from the county's Solid Waste Department and Rabanco, the county's three transfer stations -- at BZ Corner, Goldendale, and Dallesport -- will soon be selling tarps and bungee cords. For $5, a tarp (either 5' x 7' or 6' x 8') and four bungee cords will be provided.

The idea is to help reduce the littering that results from trash blowing out of pickup trucks or other vehicles on their way to the dump sites. Those using the transfer stations are supposed to cover their loads, but not everyone does.

"We'll also be handing out information on the fines for littering. Hopefully, it will help with the litter problem around the transfer sites," he explained. "I think it will help. If nothing else, it will educate people. It will make people aware the tarps are to be used if they're not using them now."

The tarps will be available for sale to the public beginning Sept. 22.

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