The Tippecanoe County Commissioners passed an ordinance Monday fining residents who discard non-recyclable items at the county’s recycling drop-off sites.
Offenders are docked $250 for the first violation, $1,000 for a second violation within one year, and up to $2,500 for a third violation in 12 months.
“We’ve had electronics, water heaters, construction debris, scooters, bicycles, you name it—things have been left there that are just truly not recyclable,” Commissioner Tom Murtaugh says.
Murtaugh says the closure of a long-time West Lafayette recycling site in May created a major surge in traffic to other drop-off locations—and required a quick transition by the county to handle the overflow. He says the county has added trash compactors and collection bins at two of the remaining locations, and upped the number of recycling pick-ups at them.
“We thought a significant portion of that traffic would go to the North 9th street location, because it’s very centrally located," Murtaugh says. "It actually drove a lot of that traffic to our remote sites.”
Murtaugh says he thinks the new fines will act as a deterrent. He says signs posted at each site detail what can and can’t be recycled, and he’s hopeful other public outreach efforts — such as social media reminders and potential public service announcements -- will help educate would-be recyclers about what they can and cannot leave behind.
Tippecanoe County residents can drop off permissible recycling items at the 9th street location, Southwestern Middle School, East Tipp Middle School, and in the town of Stockwell.