Administrator goes over new recycling set up

The City of Hillsboro Sanitation Department will continue collecting recyclables on our regular pickup schedule.

The past 8 days dealing with the announcement that Marion County Transfer Station will no longer accept recyclables has been very frustrating. Hillsboro and Marion were notified, not by county staff but by the news media. If ever there is a time you want to know something, having a newspaper reporter ask you a question that you know nothing about.

Here is the problem. Marion County takes their recyclables to a site at Ft. Riley. That staff was reduced from 7 to 4 and it caused a problem that they couldn’t effectively deal with the recyclables Marion County was sending. In addition, I heard the Marion Transfer Station staff is two people short adding to the problem. Monday, I had another conversation with a reporter who shared that Marion County had knowledge since mid-December—and we just learned about the situation 6 weeks later! Presumably, the material has been going to the landfill without our knowledge.

In the few days that the City of Marion and the City of Hillsboro were aware of the situation, we both independently came up with alternatives to move our recyclables without having them go to the landfill. That is one reason Marion County should have an Administrator—Roger Holter nor I would have permitted 6 weeks of inaction to occur.

Hillsboro has a possibility to return to the contract we had with McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility. Recyclables would go there and then to the South Hutchinson recycle site without going to the landfill. There is a tipping fee charge to go there. The City of Marion is looking at a site in Emporia that goes to a recycling center north of Lawrence.

When I talked with McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility (MASWU), I learned they have meeting dates a week later than ours. Just to be clear, MASWU is willing to accept our recyclables. Until we have an agreement with MASWU, we won’t be delivering there.

In the meantime, Marion County is looking to have the Ft. Riley option restored.

Hillsboro has responded well to curb-side recycling. Since 2017, we have increased our monthly average by 2 tons. Thank you. Going forward, we do not want our customers to stop recycling because we don’t want you to change your recycling habits. You will not respond well to us saying do this one week, then something different another week. Once we have a definitive program, we want you to continue collecting your recyclables as you have been doing is the best thing.