MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. – People in Morgan County will soon need to find a new place to leave their recyclables.

The county is temporarily suspending recycling efforts due to rising costs and people dumping their trash at recycling drop-off sites. Starting Sept. 29, recycling bins will be removed from all six county drop-off locations.

“I am absolutely furious. Our community really supports the recycling efforts,” said resident Mary Holloway as she dropped off her own recyclables.

Recycling director Erick Kivett said in an email the decision was two-fold – a substantial increase in service rates and people using open sites to dump trash. The two sites getting hit exceptionally hard are at 300 Southbridge St. in Mooresville and 160 N Park Ave. in Martinsville.

“It’s too bad that some people ruin it for everybody,” resident Jack Lesser said.

County officials have said mattresses, TVs and pizza boxes are among the banned items still found at some sites. There have also been claims of chainsaws being found in the bin.

“Some people aren’t using the bins properly and it’s costing more money,” resident Traci Walker said.

Kivett said the county believes coming up with a long-term plan would be a better use of taxpayer dollars. A potential solution would be one centralized, staffed facility. Still, he said the bill is already set to go up an extra $30,000 per month. County commissioners discussed the issue at length during an August 21 meeting.

“Something has to give because I’ve come out myself here too often and if I’m in my pickup truck, I will throw the dumped beds, and pillows, and the bedding,” Commissioner Bryan Collier said on Aug. 21. “I’m now bringing gloves when I come to do my recycling.”

During that meeting, Sheriff Richard Myers said a site near the jail is used so often that it blocks the road – even with a security camera and fines up to $500 for anyone caught dumping trash there.

“I’m sure it’s an ongoing problem and I don’t know how they can deal with that,” Lesser said. “There’s always going to be somebody that tries to cheat the system.”

Kivett said the program will return with changes. Commissioners are allowing him to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 for exploring alternatives and education. For now, those who rely on recycling services have said they’re upset because it’s unclear how long it will take for the county to come up with a permanent plan.

“If our community wasn’t very supportive of this initiative, I could understand them walking away from it,” Holloway said.

Morgan County officials have said that despite the suspension of recycling services, they are still holding a “Tox-Away Day” event for the disposal of items such as medications and chemicals. That’s happening on Oct. 29 at Martinsville High School.

The Morgan County Recycling Director said this in a statement:

Morgan County’s decision to suspend its free recycling program is two-fold: a substantial increase in contractual services and abuse of open co-mingled recycling sites. The problem with contamination has been continuous in the most-populated areas (Mooresville & Martinsville). Unfortunately, unmanned recycling sites make it too easy for people to use them as trash sites. As far as contractual service rates, we learned that our bill would increase from around $20,000/monthly to $50,000/monthly.  Part of the increase is likely because we have been paying the same rate for more than five years. As far as other reasons for the increase, we don’t want to speculate. The County believes it would be a better use of taxpayer dollars to pursue a long-term solution for our recycling needs. We are studying what surrounding counties are doing and hope to provide a solution soon. Because of the dumping, it will likely include a space or facility that is staffed.

Morgan County Recycling Director Erick Kivett