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Deluge of water bottles overflow recycling bins

Providers readied themselves for big surge

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    Bryan Shipman, with Republic Services, empties a recycling bin on West Broadway in Maumee.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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    A recycling area is designated at the entrance to Wildwood Preserve Metropark in Toledo.

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    Jessica Calevro recycles a large bag of water bottles at the recycling area behind Kroger on 7545 Sylvania Ave. near King Road.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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Bryan Shipman, with Republic Services, empties a recycling bin on West Broadway in Maumee.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Blue recycling bins — some packed with plastic water bottles — dotted the curbs along Maumee’s residential streets.

Bryan Shipman, a driver with Republic Services, stopped at each one Tuesday, sprang out, and scooped up the stuffed boxes. An assortment of recyclables — cardboard, a cat litter box, gallon jugs — tumbled into the truck.

Most notably: “Bottles, bottles, bottles,” Mr. Shipman said.

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A weekend’s worth of bottles accumulated during a water-quality crisis that forced those in the Toledo area to turn from the tap to the bottle. Recycling providers readied for a plastic surge by adding drop-off sites and relaxing curbside rules.

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Jessica Calevro recycles a large bag of water bottles at the recycling area behind Kroger on 7545 Sylvania Ave. near King Road.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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Republic told customers it would collect overflow recycling during its regular rounds over the next two weeks. Residents should put any spillover items in plastic bags and place it next to full recycling containers.

One house on Mr. Shipman’s route that typically has five or six containers of recycling had 10.

Republic spokesman Kelly Hancock reported “a little bit of an uptick in recycling” in the first two days since officials lifted a drinking water ban. But extra empties haven’t been overwhelming so far, she said.

The Lucas County Solid Waste Management District drop-off site at Kroger at Sylvania Avenue and King Road — the busiest of the district’s more than 20 locations — served a steady but not massive stream of recyclers Tuesday.

“People are using them, but it hasn’t been anything extraordinary,” said district Manager Christopher Pizza.

Among those who dropped off recycling at the Kroger store was Jessica Calevro of Sylvania, who deposited her family’s stash of empty water bottles. Despite assurances from officials that the water is safe, she’s still cooking with bottled water and plans to take a cautious approach until she feels comfortable — or until the governor comes to her house and drinks her water.

Recycling is a regular habit for Ryan Fox of Toledo, who drove to the grocery site to get rid of bottles and other items in his truck bed.

“I recycle everything,” he said. “Why put it in a landfill?”

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A recycling area is designated at the entrance to Wildwood Preserve Metropark in Toledo.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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He was pleased to see a special collection site at Wildwood Preserve. Metroparks of the Toledo Area installed a cluster of seven bins near the parking lot in anticipation of a greater recycling need. Metroparks staffers also put temporary recycling spots at Swan Creek, Farnsworth, Side Cut, and Oak Openings parks this week to supplement permanent stations at Secor and Pearson parks.

The Wildwood and Side Cut recycling spots appeared lightly used Tuesday.

“We had this idea over the weekend that we should do what we can to help people with all the plastic bottles,” Metroparks spokesman Scott Carpenter said. “We tried to do what we could do and make some small contribution to the overall effort.”

Fulton County residents also had additional options to drop off recycling. The extra sites, likely to be operational until Thursday, are at the village of Metamora office and the Swanton Fire Department.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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