Fort Riley, Kansas



RECYCLING CENTER – Don’t dump diapers down recycling bins

By Chris Otto | RECYCLE AND SOLID WASTE COORDINATOR | October 20, 2017

     It is a normal day at the office, you just got in and have a stack of papers waiting for you. As you get close to the stack of papers, you catch a whiff of a stomach churning smell as you notice that someone sent you a couple of rank diapers that have been ripening in the Kansas heat for a few days.

     If that sounds gross, that’s because it is, and it keeps happening on Fort Riley. It is hard to believe but people keep sending dirty diapers to the Recycle Center for the people who work there to deal with.

     It is not just diapers that find a way into the recycle bins, but kitty litter, rotten food, and all kinds of other stuff that can’t be recycled. We are talking about stuff that most people would be more than a little angry to get sent to their work.

     On some days, up to 40 percent of the materials that come to the Recycle Center are not recyclable. This is not just a problem on Fort Riley, but one that faces many recycling centers across the country. But unlike other places, Fort Riley does not charge people with trash in their recycling bins or stop collecting from repeat offenders. Some things make it into the wrong bin because people think they can be recycled when they actually can’t. For example, wax-lined paper milk cartons, like ones kids get at school or that have missing photos on the back, are not recyclable due to the wax.

     Some things that make it in the recycle bins (dirty diapers, deceased pets, rotten food) are just plain gross should not be sent to the Recycle Center.

     Fort Riley’s Recycle Center does use a state-of-the-art optical sorting machine to separate recyclable materials. Many people don’t realize that the staff still ends up pulling out a good amount of the trash by hand. So that means that someone probably has to touch every diaper that is sent to the Recycle Center.

     The Recycle Center does accept more than most centers in the area. In addition to the standard acceptable materials like cardboard, paper, aluminum, glass, and plastics, we take toner cartridges, white Styrofoam and cooking oil. We are happy to take your recycling and even give you several opportunities to turn your materials in. You can drop materials off at the Recycle Center, building 1980 on 4th Street in the Camp Funston area, put them with your office collection point, family housing residents can use the green curbside recycling bins, or use one of the drop off points on post that include Main Post Exchange, Custer Hill PX, several motorpools and behind the Recycle Center. But please apply the “Golden Rule” to your recycling and refrain from sending the Staff at the Recycle Center things like dirty diapers — things you would not want sent to your work.

      For questions on what can or can’t be recycled on Fort Riley, call the Fort Riley Recycle Program at 785-239-2385.