© 2024 Lakeshore Public Media
8625 Indiana Place
Merrillville, IN 46410
Public Broadcasting for Northwest Indiana & Chicagoland since 1987
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Portage Council votes to end curbside recycling program that hasn't recycled anything for years

Joey BLS Photography website

The Portage City Council voted Tuesday to end curbside recycling pickup.

Items placed in recycling toters weren't actually being recycled, anyway, after the city's contractor put the recycling program on suspension, due to the amount of trash being mixed in. And while recycling used to be free to the city, it now costs more than disposing trash.

Still, Mayor Austin Bonta said he doesn't consider the change an ending of Portage's recycling program. "At this point, we are moving on to build our own recycling infrastructure, if you will," Bonta said during Tuesday's council meeting. "So this is a step towards recycling."

Now, anything residents place in either of their toters will be considered trash, regardless of the color of the toter's lid. Residents who still want to recycle can take items to the U.S. 12 compost site or the Portage Street Department during business hours.

Meanwhile, the newly-formed Portage Beautification and Sustainability Committee is looking at ways to expand recycling opportunities going forward. Committee member Carl Kurek said that includes reaching out to local businesses that may be able to offer recycling programs.

"It's important to note that we're equally committed to educating residents about waste reduction and improving sustainable practices across all aspects of the city and initiating community cleanup and beautification projects," Kurek added.

The city council is also considering an ordinance adjusting the fees for the pickup of bulk items. Bonta said it's designed to discourage businesses from taking advantage of the residential rates.

"I think it's no secret that people heave figured out that under the current setup, it's a little bit too easy for a contractor or somebody to take their garbage, bring it to a Portage address and then take advantage of the much cheaper rate that we have," Bonta explained.

Residents who schedule a bulk item pickup outside of the monthly "amnesty day" would have to pay $40, to keep up with rising costs, and tires would no longer be picked up by the city.