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Waste reduction starts with reuse

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We all know the slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but we usually shift our focus to the recycling component. It is important to remember we can limit our impact on the environment and our landfill by reducing our waste.

Think about packaging when you shop, and reusing — using items over and over until they need to recycled or disposed in the landfill.

Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District has several opportunities for the community to reuse, including a public Reuse Center at the Bartholomew County Landfill (811 E. County Road 450S, Columbus), public Reuse Cart at the Recycling Center (720 S. Mapleton St., Columbus) and two areas open to educators — Little Red School House at the Recycling Center and Little Red School House Too, at the landfill.

Landfill reuse

Bartholomew County residents and businesses may use this facility during regular landfill hours.

The landfill is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Reuse items accepted include building materials, furniture, appliances, house wares, lawn and garden, recreational, office, clothing and automotive. All accepted items need to be in fair condition to be housed in the Reuse Area.

The following items are excluded from reuse: refrigerant-containing appliances, tires, mattresses, medication, firearms/ammunition and household hazardous waste.

Recycling Center reuse

Bartholomew County residents can utilize the “Free Stuff” cart at the Recycling Center as part of Tox-A-Way Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This cart is reserved for household hazardous waste that is in good condition and could be reused.

Items that fit into this category include paint, varnishes, stains, household cleaners, brush/weed killers, etc. These items need to have the original labeling and be in good condition for someone else to reuse.


Both Little Red School House locations are open to teachers and educators in Bartholomew County. Our aim is to provide reusable materials and classroom supplies at no cost through residential, commercial and community donations.

The Little Red School House at the Recycling Center is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Little Red School House Too, located at the landfill, is open from 8 to 10 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month. Materials are always welcome as donations to both facilities, such as coffee cans, baby food jars, greeting cards, educational magazines, fabric scraps, etc.

For a complete list of donations wanted, visit

Remember “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”

Heather Siesel is education coordinator for the Bartholomew County Solid Waste District. She can be reached at or 376-2614. For information concerning these free educational programming offerings and resources, visit under “Education.”

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