Boone County Solid Waste Management District talks trash


The Boone County Solid Waste Management District has a message for residents getting ready to do some spring cleaning — not all those unneeded items belong in the trash.

The district is responsible for making sure Boone County residents know what it means to reduce, recycle or properly dispose of residential waste. The department hosts programming to enable residents to be responsible stewards of the environment while preserving public health in and around Boone County. 

Executive Director Jennifer Lawrence said the department is not a county office, but a separate unit of government dictated by Indiana code.

“We act as a resource for Boone County residents,” Lawrence said. “If you’re cleaning out your own house, if you’re cleaning out grandma’s house, if you’re wondering where to start with recycling, any of those things we act as a resource on how to do it, how to do it right, and where to go.”

Lawrence said Boone County Solid Waste Management District engages in public-private partnerships to provide services, including recycling events for motor oil, hazardous waste, electronics and tires. But the main service the office provides is education.

“We’re here to spread the word. We’re not selling a thing,” Lawrence said of the department, which has been operating in Boone County since 1994. “You don’t know you need us until you need us. If you need to get rid of an entire medicine cabinet full of medicines, we help send people the right way.”

Lawrence said that when it comes to regular refuse and recycling, the residents of Zionsville are especially receptive to making sure what they dispose of goes to the right place. Lawrence said there are 25 garbage and recycling hauler companies that are active in Boone County.

“I think people want to do the right thing,” she said. “They’ll take the time to recycle, and they want to recycle right, so they know what that means. We get a lot of our education requests from (Zionsville and Whitestown).”

Those education requests often mean speaking to schools and civic organizations, organizing litter pickup campaigns and soliciting for volunteers.

When it comes to recycling, Lawrence said there are three tenants to follow.

“Clean, dry and loose,” she said. “What’s the quickest way to teach somebody to recycle, clean, dry and loose is it. You don’t have to put it in the dishwasher, it just has to be rinsed out. Don’t throw a half a bottle of water in there, we want it dry. And loose — do not bag your recyclables. We want them loose so that when they are sorted with electronic technology, it’s easiest to do.”

Lawrence said that while everyone knows “reduce, reuse, recycle,” people often focus on just recycling. But, she said, the department encourages residents to find ways to reuse items that don’t belong in a landfill, like plastic bottles and bags or old clothing, and reducing consumption as much as possible.

Boone County Solid Waste Management District also produces a monthly electronic newsletter, Waste Watch. The newsletter highlights programming and includes tips on how to dispose of or recycle unique household items.

Lawrence said the district’s signature event is the tox-drop collection, where Boone County residents can drop off electronics and used tires. While the spring event was held April 27 in Lebanon, the fall event takes place Sept. 14 at the Zionsville Municipal Services Building.

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