Recycling drop-off locations continue to pile up, amid concerns it could get worse

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:23 PM CDT
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6 News checked in on recycling drop-off locations that have been piling up amid the pandemic; and while there’s been a bit of improvement, the concern is it could get a lot worse.

“It’s the tires, the trees, the furniture, the appliances,” said Tim Gabriel, as he pointed to piles of junk at the 75th St. recycle drop-off. Gabriel manages a business right in front of the mess, and says it’s been a problem for years.

The pandemic adding to the pile up as WasteManagement delayed several weeks of curbside pickup because of staff shortages.

“You come here on a Friday or Monday morning and it looks like a war zone,” said Gabriel.

Last Monday the 75th Street location along with a drop-off in Elkhorn were both overflowing with everything from furniture to actual recyclable items. This Monday, the Elkhorn location looked much better, but the 75th Street drop-off was once again piling up.

Last week the city said it was working to bring in more dumpsters; Monday the city didn’t confirm whether those bins had arrived.

"It's very frustrating when you see so much extra garbage set alongside a recycling dumpster,” said Chris Skinner, who drives one the trucks that picks up and drops off the bins.

He says some people don’t seem to care what they drop here, or the impact it has on other people

“Take a little time to think about what you’re doing and how many people have to pick up the items that you didn’t bother to take a few minutes to figure out the proper place to take it,” said Skinner.

Last week the city said they had asked Omaha police to patrol for illegal dumping; with people still clearly doing that Tim Gabriel has a suggestion.

“My philosophy is to put a gate there with someone to check what they’re dumping and otherwise send them to the landfill because that’s what it’s for,” said Gabriel.

Potentially making matters worse, this week WasteManagement cuts back its curbside recycling pickup to once every-other week. Gabriel worries that means more people will be dumping their recycling and whatever else is piling up at home.

“It’s definitely going to get worse,” said Gabriel. “It most definitely will be worse, like said, here’s a door - it’s not recyclable, foam - not recyclable. This is stuff that has to go to the landfill.”

Omaha police told 6 News they have yet to spot any illegal dumping but will be patrolling these areas.