FUNKSTOWN — People who have been using the Washington County recycling bins in Funkstown will no longer be able to do so after mid-July.
At the request of the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co., the two county recycling bins at the Funkstown fire station will be removed on July 15, said Cliff Engle, who heads the county's Solid Waste Department.
The decision follows the removal of seven county recycling bins from the city of Hagerstown at the beginning of June and one from Smithsburg last week.
The fire company's board of directors voted Tuesday to request the bins' removal because they have become an unsightly dump site, said Dale Hill, president of the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.
"It's just really gotten terrible," Hill said.
The problems began after Washington County removed its seven Hagerstown recycling bins, Hill said.
"It seemed like after they shut those down, I guess more people found out this was the closest site, and it just became unsightly for the department," he said.
Similar problems with abuse were cited as one factor when the city asked the county to remove its bins from within the city.
County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said the Washington County Board of Commissioners is scheduled this month to discuss alternatives to unmanned recycling sites, including curbside recycling or a controlled recycling drop-off area.
Since the city bins were removed, people have left chairs, lamps and other nonrecylables at the Funkstown bins, Hill said.
Despite the county's best efforts to keep up with emptying the bins, including the recent addition of a second bin, overflow has also become a problem, Hill said.
"A lot of people come up, and it's full, and they just set (their recyclables) on the outside of the recycle bins, and it just piles up all around it," he said. "The pile sometimes, a couple weeks ago, was almost as high as the units themselves."
The piles were encroaching on the fire station's training area and tarnishing views at a creekside area where area residents like to walk their dogs and bring children to feed ducks, Hill said.
"We don't have the best fire station in the country, but we try to keep our grounds looking somewhat nice," he said.
Funkstown Mayor Paul Crampton Jr. said fire company officials called him about their decision, and he passed the request on to the county.
"The county was there, and they were very responsive, but unfortunately, the public didn't act responsibly," Crampton said.
Both Hill and Crampton said they support recycling in general and are willing to work with the county on a solution.
"We appreciate the recycling efforts of citizens who used the Funkstown recycling containers over the years," Engle said in an news release about the removal of the bins. "We also remind county citizens that the unmanned recycling containers are placed only on properties whose owners are willing to accept the containers, and those property owners or jurisdictions can ask to have the boxes removed at any time."
With the removal of the Funkstown bins, the county will have seven remaining bins at five unmanned sites in Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Keedysville, Maugansville and Sharpsburg, Engle said.
The county also has free recycling bins at all locations of the landfill including the transfer stations at Dargan, Greensburg, Hancock and Kaetzel, he said.
Additional information can be obtained by calling county Recycling Coordinator Tony Drury at 240-313-2796.
On the Web: View a list of Washington County recycling locations at: