BAINBRIDGE — Township officials talked of a potential “timeout” for their Haskins Road recycling center after the bins were left both overflowing and with non-recyclables.

Longtime resident Henri Preuss brought up concerns to the township trustees during their June 8 meeting that some residents may be abusing the recycling center. He informed the trustees that after he had dropped off trash that morning for the township’s clean-up days at the township service center adjacent to the recycling center last week, he was disappointed to see the recycling center a mess.

The clean-up days event was “perfection at its best,” Mr. Preuss said. “The disappointing thing was exiting the lot and seeing all the trash at the recycling center.”

Service Director Jim Stanek said the Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste District picks up the recycling from the township’s center every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come Saturday and Sunday, “people just don’t care,” he said, and pile their trash and recyclables into the center despite it being full.

When the recycling center is full and people continue to leave their recycling and other trash behind, the service department must clean the area so it can be properly hauled by the Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste Management District that following Monday.

Fiscal Officer Janice Sugarman noted that there have been instances when her son had gone to drop off recycling at the township’s recycling center over the weekend but couldn’t because the bins were overflowing.

Trustee Jeff Markley said the township may need to consider gating off the center for when the bins are full, but quickly acknowledged that the trash may just pile up by the gate instead.

Trustee Lorrie Sass Benza explained that Chester Township has fencing that blocks access to the bins when they are full that prevents residents from driving close to the recycling center. She added, however, that such a design would not work for Bainbridge due to the center’s location.

“We have chain link fencing, we can probably do something with it,” Mr. Markley suggested.

“People will throw [their waste] over, I guarantee it,” Mrs. Sugarman said.

Mr. Stanek also cautioned, however, that any gating in that area could restrict traffic and the turnaround area of the recycling center, noting that there would be too many cars in the area at once for gating between the recycling center, Settlers Park and the service garage.

He said he will just have to start posting signage to let residents know when the bins are full and to advise them to come back another day.

Mr. Markley told Mr. Stanek to also take pictures next time the center is left overflowing on a Monday morning so they can post them on the township website to show residents the damage.

If there is no improvement, however, the township may have to close the center.

“We’ll just give them a timeout,” Mr. Stanek said if people continue to abuse the recycling center. “Shut it down.”

“It’s up to the people to maintain it themselves on Saturday and Sunday,” Mr. Markley added, noting that if people cannot “behave” themselves, the township may have to close the recycling center either entirely for a period of time or on the weekends.

The board advised that if the bins are full when residents arrive to drop off recycling, they should take their recycling back home and come back another day.

Sam Cottrill started reporting for the Times in February 2019 and covers Auburn, Bainbridge, Bentleyville and Chagrin, Kenston, Solon and West Geauga schools. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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