Photo IDs are required to pass through airport security, to open a bank account and now in Pepper Pike to deposit rubbish and recyclables at the city collection center.

Sound extreme?

The city was forced to make this unusual requirement because people were flagrantly breaking the rules. Initially, Pepper Pike prohibited Saturday and Sunday drop-offs after the site turned into an overflowing collection of garbage, plastics, cans and even construction materials. But then, under the dark of night, the dumpers were sneaking into the site on Friday evenings, leaving a trail of trash and an assortment of other stuff.

Now 2 p.m. is the cutoff for drop-offs on Fridays.

Another problem arose on top of the mess – the smell beaconing raccoons and other wildlife to rummage through the garbage in pursuit of a snack.

City crews have been left dealing with this mess on Mondays.

Pepper Pike is not the only community faced with abusive dumpers.

Early this summer, townships around Geauga County were seeing their recycling centers littered with not only garbage, but also stained mattresses, old furniture and other junk. Russell Township trustees are planning to fence in the drop-off center and lock it up after business hours. Bainbridge Township is looking at closing its recycling center. Last year, Munson Township closed its recycling center due to the excessive dumping of garbage.

This is certainly not a new challenge. Communities across Northeast Ohio for years have been dealing with the dump while trying to provide a service for residents and at the same time promote recycling.

So, why can’t people respect the environment and follow the rules when using the garbage and recycling centers provided by municipalities?

Pepper Pike officials said incidents of dumping have been increasing during the coronavirus pandemic when more people are stuck at home and apparently are creating more waste. Even when signs read, “No weekend dumping,” people do it anyway, boldly unloading trash right in front of the signs.

Pepper Pike will continue to provide a collection center for rubbish and recyclables, but only during weekdays – Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. That way crews can check those photo IDs and be on the lookout for violators.

But the bottom line is that residents need to stop dumping.

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