Illegal dumping threatening all free recycling drop-off locations in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Illegal dumping is threatening all 20 of Greensboro's free recycle drop-off locations, as it's already being blamed for the temporary closure of a popular site in the north end of the city.

The drop-off location on Lake Jeanette Road near Fire Station 43 is no longer in service, as the dumpsters were removed Thursday after a continuing issue with people illegally dumping there. Some have left items such as mattresses, furniture, paint and chemicals there. The sites are intended solely for excess recyclables.

“It’s a huge cost to the city to have to bring out another set of trucks to pick up those bulk items, to pick up those hazardous items," said Tori Carle, waste reduction supervisor the for the City of Greensboro.

Carle says in addition to the costs for pickup, some of the unwanted items can contaminate items which are considered recyclable.

“So your good plastic bottles and cardboard boxes and all those other good things might not be recyclable anymore," she detailed.

In turn, contaminated items can incur additional charges on the city, as processors can't make money with them.

“Recycling has a value just like gold or oil does and it fluctuates on a daily basis," Carle said.

The sites are currently functioning on a good faith system and not monitored by cameras.

“I have a load of recyclable boxes that need to be disposed of and I came over here to do it and they’re not here," said David Smith, who went by the temporarily closed Lake Jeanette site on Friday.

Carle says the city has seen contamination at some of the other sites city-wide. Solutions include moving dumpsters to less-visible areas to deter people from driving by and noticing the dumpsters, then choosing to dump their items there.

“'I’m just gonna drop it off at this dumpster, somebody will clean it up.' That kind of stuff really just creates a mess," she said.

The city has been talking about putting cameras up at the sites, but no steps have been taken in that direction.

If the illegal dumping continues at multiple sites, Carle says, there is talk of eliminating all 20 of the sites.

“You’re kind of screwing the rest of us," Smith said, of the people illegally dumping.

As far as the Lake Jeanette site goes, Carle says the city will let people know why it was taken away and they hope to put it back in a couple months.

In the meantime, the city encourages all city and county residents to download the GSO Collects mobile app for details on what can be dropped off at the sites and locations.

For more information, click here.