Freedom Township considering twice-monthly curbside recycling service

Image of a recycling bin
Recycling in Portage County. Photo by Sigmund

Freedom Township residents may gain curbside recycling services through the county recycling center.

The twice-monthly service would cost residential property owners $5.50 a month, the same price as curbside customers throughout the county.

Without consulting township residents, a few years ago Freedom trustees passed a resolution to start curbside service, said Jeff Derthick, Freedom Township trustee.

However, at the time, the recycling center lacked trucks and drivers, so nothing came of the plan, said Dawn Collins, director of the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

“Since we have a new board of trustees, we wanted to hear from our residents first. If the residents don’t want it, we don’t want to force them to take it,” Freedom Trustee Charlene Walker said.

Walker and Trustee Tom Mesaros were elected in 2021, taking office in January 2022. Derthick, who was elected in 2019, said he is looking forward to a solid survey response, and pledged that the township leaders will make their decision based on residents’ feedback.

So far, judging by responses on the township’s social media page and by phone calls Derthick himself has fielded, as many people seem to support curbside service as don’t, he said. (The Portager’s cursory look at the social media responses found seven people seemingly against recycling, and only one in favor.)

If the surveys break even, with as many people for as against, Derthick said he would vote against instituting curbside recycling in Freedom.

“It’s going to have to tip to one side pretty good,” he said. “At 70% ‘for,’ I’d probably go for it.”

The surveys will not cost residents anything to return. Residents have only to check one box indicating if they are interested in curbside service, and if so, what size cart — 65 or 95 gallon — they would prefer.

Carts of both sizes are available for viewing at Freedom Town Hall until enough surveys are returned for township trustees to determine what size to choose. Should the township opt for recycling, the cans, no matter what size, will be provided at no cost to residents, Collins said.

Freedom Township does not currently have a central dropoff bin for recycling. Due to potential cost increases and contamination issues, they removed it a few years ago, Collins said, adding that there are no longer any impediments to offering Freedom curbside service.

“We’re in a much better position, so we are mailing surveys asking if residents are still interested, and if they are, what size cart they would want,” Collins said.

If trustees approve it, the contract with the county would be ongoing, with the price locked in unless either side issues a 60-day written notice to discontinue, or until three public hearings result in a price hike or reduction, Collins said.

People who cannot physically pull their carts to the road may contact the recycling center to obtain a form their physician can complete. There would be no additional charge for the service, Collins said.

To people who claim that their recycling is picked up for free, Derthick said such is not the case. No trash hauler does that, he said, positing that people may think their haulers are separating trash from recycling when they actually are doing no such thing.

Though some people believe items put into recycling bins are surreptitiously sent to landfills, Collins said that also is not the case.

“The processors have contracts they need to fulfill. They, as well as the recycling district, are required by law to recycle, not landfill what they receive,” she said.

Acceptable recycling bin items include aluminum and tin cans, all of which must be empty and rinsed free of contaminants. Cardboard should be broken down and cut to fit in the bins, or piled neatly next to the bin. Pizza boxes must be free of grease and food. Milk, juice and food cartons should be rinsed.

Glass bottles and jars are acceptable, as is all paper, newspaper, junk mail, magazines, and receipts. Shredded paper should be placed in a paper bag labeled “shredding.” Plastics labeled #1 and #2 may also be put in the bin as long as they are rinsed. Lids should be placed back on the containers.

“Wishcycling,” the practice of putting items into a bin in the hopes that they can be recycled, may contaminate an otherwise recyclable load, Collins said. Such items include styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic bags, construction debris, yard debris, wood, window glass, mirrors, light bulbs, batteries, electronics, appliances, hoses and cords, furniture, food waste, and trash.

Many of those items will be accepted when the recycling center launches its weekly CHARM program in September. Then, county residents will be able to drop off items, including appliances, electronics, bubble wrap, and plastic bags, at the recycling center on Mogadore Road.

+ posts

Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.