Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 8, 2014

Tipton Solid Waste searching for new facility

Recycling services 'limping' along since Tippecanoe Waste Removal closed

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — TIPTON – The Tipton County Solid Waste District is looking to get back on its feet by securing a new facility for its operations.

The solid waste district, currently housed on 902 Development Drive in Tipton, is not operating right now, but Tipton Solid Waste Management Director Beth Hirtzel said a facility committee for the board will meet later this week to discuss some of the 22 locations that have been identified as a possible new spot for a facility.

Hirtzel spoke at last week’s Tipton County Commissioners meeting to provide an update on the district’s progress since its former contractor, Tippecanoe Waste Removal, stopped processing recyclables in January at its facility on Development Drive.

Tipton solid waste district’s operations have been in limbo since TWR went out of business in late January. Since then, the state has filed a consumer fraud action against the company on behalf of 766 former customers who claim they paid the Lafayette-based company in advance for services they never received.

Hirtzel has expressed a desire to get recycling back up and running in the county and hopes a new space will include a materials recovery facility that would allow the district to process its own materials. She expects a recommendation from the committee should come to the solid waste board in the next two months.

“I’m very passionate about this, so the delay has been a struggle,” Hirtzel said. “I know this is an inconvenience to our citizens. I’m just hoping we get a new location soon for the people that want to use our facilities. We have a lot of devoted customers.”

One of the locations she inquired about is located on a parcel near the Tipton County Fairgrounds west of Doctors Park, but Hirtzel said several locations are still being considered as a spot for a new facility. A few other “centrally located” parcels within the county have been identified as possible locations for a new facility, Hirtzel said.

Hirtzel approached the commissioners regarding the parcel because it is owned by the county.

“We’re down to where we’ve been limping through temporarily at our old location, month to month,” she said during the meeting. “That’s getting to be a worn out Plan B. I’m getting anxious to move forward with something else.”

In the meantime, the solid waste district has been forced to continue operating its two recycling bins it is renting from the Howard County Recycling District from the lot on Development Drive so that residents can take their recyclables like plastics, glass and paper, until a new facility is secured. The district is still unable to collect recyclables like tires, electronics and hazardous waste, since losing TWR’s services.

Hirtzel said she envisions a new facility would not only have the capability to act as a MRF, but also as a learning facility where visitors can learn more about the recycling process. The district, which is state funded, would be responsible for the maintenance of the facility, where security cameras would need to be installed.

“We want to thank the community for their patience,” Hirtzel said. “To see the program on hold is frustrating, but not devastating.”

For more information on the solid waste district’s operations, call 765-675-9006.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.