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DSWA aims to curb improper waste disposal with new recycling drop-off center plan

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DSWA.com
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Delaware’s Solid Waste Authority is shifting the way its recycling drop-off centers work in an effort to encourage proper disposal of recyclables.

Over the last year, DSWA noticed more people were placing household trash inside of recycling bins at its various drop-off sites statewide, Chief of Business Mike Parkowski said. They decided there was a need to change the way things worked.

“We realized we really needed to fix this problem and the only way to do it is to go to centers that have staff there that can control what the inflow is and help people too that want to recycle,” Parkowski said.

Current unmanned drop-off sites will be phased out by the end of the summer, Parkowski said. They will be replaced by four manned drop-off sites with allotted hours for collecting single stream recyclables, electronics, used oil and other items. These sites will also host a household hazardous waste event once a week and a paper shredding/latex paint collection event once a month. Another nine centers currently at DSWA facilities will start taking single-stream items, batteries and oil. 

DSWA's four drop-off centers will be at The Cheswold Collection Station, the Delaware Recycling Center in New Castle and the Jones Crossroads Landfill in Georgetown. A brand new center will be located in Newark.

Delaware’s recycling participation rate is it 42 percent, higher than the 34 percent national average. When the Universal Recycling Law was passed in 2010, many people switched from using drop-off sites to using curbside carts at their homes. Parkwoski said DSWA attributes to this change to an increase in illegal dumping - less people were using drop-off centers, and the items they were bringing to them were hazardous waste. The DSWA wants to eliminate people using unmanned facilities as a method of free disposal for improper items.

“Delawareans really do care about recycling and we really do have high participation rates,” Parkowski said. “Along with these changes, there’s going to be a lot more education put out about where things go and how to do it.”

Parkowski said scheduled hours at manned centers (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday) should encourage people to bring the right recyclables to the right place.

To help navigate the changes, DSWA is providing a site locator on its website – dswa.com.