“The reasoning primarily is that it just created hazards and unsightly conditions,” said Matt Morgan, assistant superintendent of support services. “People started using it for dumping appliances, mattresses, glass, televisions and all sorts of things. The service had declined, and companies weren’t able to keep up with pickup.”
District officials were forced to divert custodians and grounds crew from their daily tasks to clean up the area surrounding the bins. Additionally, commodity markets had dropped too low to produce much revenue, Morgan said.
The program was implemented in the late 1990s with the intention of recycling paper goods and generating revenue for the campuses through market-based rebates.
“It wasn’t a huge revenue generator, but it was good for the community,” Morgan said. “It had grown over the years, and nearly all schools participated at the peak of the program.”
High schools are still participating in the program, and many campuses have recycling clubs that help manage collections and potential hazards.
Morgan said the district also hopes to work with their partnering waste management companies to set up separate paper recycling for school use.
“We certainly want to recycle, and we continue to look at different alternatives,” Morgan said. “But we do need to make sure the conditions are safe for our students.”