GREENFIELD — Recycling advocates in Hancock County are working extra hard to ramp up enthusiasm for events geared at encouraging local citizens to do their part to protect the planet.
Participation in local recycling events has been decreasing in recent years, but more advertising and promotion is in the works for the events hosted each spring and fall by the Hancock County Solid Waste Management District.
The district has two large recycling events each year when people can drop off tires, electronics, hazardous waste and more.
Roy Ballard, district director, said the vast majority of participants come from Greenfield and Center Township. He said he’d like to see people from all corners of the county become aware of the events.
“Our goal really is to reach outside of Greenfield,” Ballard said. “We hold the events in Greenfield, but we don’t receive the involvement of people outside of Greenfield that we’d like. We’re trying to reach out to other parts of the county to make sure they’re informed.”
Ballard recently spoke to the Hancock County Council about putting money toward promotion of the events. Much of the program’s budget comes from participation fees at the events.
In 2012, there were 615 people who participated in multiple events geared to specific items for recycling.
Since then, county officials decided to have only two, larger recycling events a year – a one-stop shop of sorts where multiple items could be dropped off. But participation last year was down to 366.
Dede Allender, educator for the district, said it’s hard to tell what’s led to the decrease in interest in recycling events. The large recycling events welcoming multiple categories of items have been well-received, she said, because people no longer have to keep track of what date to drop off a particular item.
Allender is hopeful that decreasing participation doesn’t necessarily mean fewer people are recycling hazardous or large items. Perhaps people are becoming more educated on where to drop off items when there isn’t an event, she said. Computers, for example, can be dropped off at several locations in Hancock County and neighboring communities.
“We’re here to educate the public and help them find places to dispose of these items on a regular basis,” Allender said.
Still, Hancock County doesn’t have the infrastructure most other counties in the state have on year-round recycling.
“Most of the counties in the state have a hazardous waste disposal site that’s available to them year-round, maybe one Saturday a month, or it’s open five or six days a week,” Allender said. “Hancock County doesn’t have that, and by not having that we’re saving taxpayers a ton of money. We’re being very efficient with the way we handle those items.”
Both Ballard and Allender say there’s plenty of room for more people to attend the recycling events. They’ve tossed around the idea of holding events in towns like Fortville, McCordsville or New Palestine, but Ballard said it’s hard to find locations that are large enough for multiple drop-off stations.
Ballard said they may do more print or billboard advertising to reach people outside of Greenfield.
“It’s just the responsible thing to do to be able to serve as many people as we can,” Ballard said. “We have the events, we have the capacity. Why not make best use of those events?”
The next recycling event is set for April 25 at Covance. For details on what can be collected and the cost to dispose of certain items, visitrecyclehancockcounty.com.
There are two large recycling events conducted every year at Covance for hazardous materials, tires, reusable latex paint, electronics and document shredding. Hosted by the Hancock County Solid Waste Management District, the events charge fees based on the items being dropped off.
The next event is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 25 at Covance. For details, visit recyclehancockcounty.com. The site also includes an A-Z guide on how to recycle items at nearby locations. A paper copy of the guide can be picked up in area stores and community centers.