Aaron Bell, executive director of the seven-county Southeastern Indiana Recycling District, in a room full of baled paper awaiting shipping to the next place on the way to an end-user, says the district has to have enough bales to fill a semi before it can call to schedule a pickup. (Photos from WKMNews)
Aaron Bell, executive director of the seven-county Southeastern Indiana Recycling District, in a room full of baled paper awaiting shipping to the next place on the way to an end-user, says the district has to have enough bales to fill a semi before it can call to schedule a pickup. (Photos from WKMNews)
The 2019 theme for the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District will be “Recycle Right” to try to get less material that cannot be recycled in its seven-county service area. The district is a collector of recyclables, which it bundles and sells either to end users or to companies that move it along the route to an end user who recycles it.

China’s strict limits on how much contamination — unlike things being shipped to China for recycling — is only part of the reason for the theme, Aaron Bell, executive director of the district, said Tuesday at a news media open house where the theme was announced.

The district, which includes Jefferson County, has a reputation among those who buy the district’s materials for the cleanliness of its large cubes of plastics, cardboard and paper, he said. That makes it easier to sell and at a higher price.

“We’re not having any trouble selling our stuff at all,” Bell said.

The district wants to keep that reputation and would rather have “quality over quantity” by having people be more careful about what goes into recycling bins, but it also wants to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills by encouraging people to reduce use of items, such as plastics, that cannot be recycled.

Most materials the district packages and ships to the next step on the route to the companies in the U.S. or abroad in countries such as China come from about 63 schools in the seven counties, Bell said. The district picks up recycling at the schools once a week, and despite having a teachers manual and recycling education, the district still is getting garbage and unrecyclable materials, he said.

The district also receives recyclables that the public drops off at the district’s recycling centers. In Jefferson County, the center is in the former Jefferson Proving Ground. It is located on the first road to the right from the entrance gate on U.S. 421. In addition to more common recyclables such as #1 and #2 plastics, cardboard, newspapers and mixed papers such as from schools and offices, the center is where to take difficult-to-recycle items such as electronics and household hazardous waste.

The district is not a drop-off location for unwanted prescription drugs, but recently has started incinerating the drugs for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Bell said. The sheriff’s department is one location in Jefferson County where unwanted prescription drugs can be taken for disposal.

The recycling rules vary from county to county. Information about each county in the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District is on the district’s website — seird.org

Also on the website is a tab at the top, “What Do I Do With?” that tells what can and cannot be recycled at the recycling district. More than 350 items are on the list.