FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County Department of Environmental Management announced Wednesday that its recycling drop-off site at Southgate Plaza will close permanently.

The final day for drop-offs at those trailers is Saturday, August 13, 2022.

According to a release from the county, this move comes as the property owners at the location off of Pettit Avenue in Fort Wayne have decided to no longer be a host for recycling drop-offs.

“Over the past couple of years, our recycling drop-off sites have seen a record amount of material — particularly cardboard,” ACDEM director Tom Fox said. “In addition, issues with curbside recycling service in the city (and residents’ frustration with that situation) have turned these sites into targets for illegal dumping. Our contractor’s difficulty in staffing the sites has only added to the challenge. For these reasons, Kellams Enterprises has decided to no longer host this drop-off site. This ends a long association with ACDEM that has benefited the community for many years. In spite of this, there is a continuing need for recycling. With our partner, Republic Services, we are dedicated to finding another location to service this area of Allen County.”

Fox told WANE 15 that people continue to treat the drop-off sites as a dumping grounds and don’t follow the guidelines or hours.

On top of that, the program is bringing in tons of recyclable materials every since the Red River issues in Fort Wayne worsened. Fox said people find the sites convenient, but the program was designed strictly for people who don’t have curbside recycling services.

“Don’t just look at this as an open ended opportunity to get rid of your stuff or save yourself a trip to the landfill. That’s not the purpose of these things,” Fox said. “This is a program designed to help people recycle, encourage that, and allow people to do that close to home. When they don’t do that, it jeopardizes the whole program.”

While the ACDEM looks for another site to host its recycling trailers, the next closest location where household recyclables including paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, and cans can be dropped off is at 2509 E Pontiac Street.

The Pontiac Street location is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Other ACDEM drop-off sites are listed below:

  • Northwest, near 2 Fort Recovery Rd
  • Leo-Cedarville, 14701 Schwartz Rd
  • Monroeville, 110 W. South St

Finding a new location won’t be easy. Fox said it’s much harder to find locations today than it was when the program launched 30 years ago because so many properties are corporately owned or managed by out-of-state companies.

“Now, they’re owned by far away corporations or property management companies that are out of state and really aren’t that concerned about local recycling programs. So, they’re difficult to deal with. They’re concerned about liability and other issues and really are not willing to work with us. So, finding a location is not as easy as you might think,” Fox said.