Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Improperly disposed needles force Oneida County Solid Waste to shut down recycling centerSubmitted: 07/17/2019
Story By Lane Kimble

Improperly disposed needles force Oneida County Solid Waste to shut down recycling center
RHINELANDER - Sifting through a sea of bottles, cans, and milk jugs, Lisa Jolin has pretty much seen it all come through her recycling center, including things that don't belong.  The plant processes nearly 2.5 million pounds of recycling each year.

"Diapers, you know, gross things," Jolin explained.

But a discovery late Tuesday morning stopped the Oneida County Solid Waste Director's workers in their tracks.


"Yeah, it makes them nervous, I would be too," Jolin said.

Containers full of used needles sat mixed in with recyclables. Many were broken open and spilled syringes all over the recycling center's floor. Jolin immediately shut down the county's only recycling line until the crew could properly clean up the area.

"Very disheartening, you know, I'm just worried about their safety," Jolin said.

When the needles end up in containers such as a laundry detergent container, it's illegal but at least easier to clean up because they're sealed in thick plastic. However, often the containers break open and needles end up in a stream leading to a conveyor belt.

Upstairs, workers sort through recycling by hand. They wear cut-resistant gloves but when they're working quickly, someone could easily get poked and potentially infected.

"[That could lead to] significant blood tests for a number of years, I'm not sure how long, but there's great cost to that and also just the worry on their part," Jolin said.

Oneida County Detective Sergant Brian Barbour knows just how scary uncapped needles can be.

"We've run into it in vehicles, homes, public places," Barbour said.

Barbour says it's common to come across used needles tossed along roadsides and during searches of suspects' homes. He says some deputies carry puncture-resistant gloves, but they're expensive and cut down on the wearer's dexterity.

"We're all definitely very cautious of that because nobody wants to be accidentally poked," Barbour said.

State law requires people who use needles for things such as diabetic treatment to dispose of them properly. The Oneida County Health Department has specific drop off locations for used needles, including the Rhinelander Trig's pharmacy, Ascension St. Mary's Hospital, and Howard Young Medical Center.

From there, qualified experts take the needles to be incinerated.

The Health Department also offers traditional red containers made of thick plastic for transportation to disposal. Jolin says thick containers such as the ones she came across in the recycling yard work too, but they don't belong here, or even in a landfill.

"It's just easier to pitch them, but [those who do are] not realizing the risk it puts others at," Jolin said.

Jolin hoped to get her recycling line back up and running by Wednesday night or Thursday morning. She says her crew will need to play catch up, but will work slowly to keep an eye out for more needles.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

WISCONSIN DELLS - Noah's Ark Water Park at the Wisconsin Dells announced on Wednesday that the park is going to stay closed for the rest of the season.

Their Facebook page says the park is trying to keep their guests, employees and the Dells community safe from COVID-19.

According to NBC in Madison, the park did close on Aug. 1 after two employees tested positive for the virus.

People who have single day passes and season passes for 2020 can use them for 2021.

The water park will use the remainder of this year to prepare for the 2021 season.

+ Read More

SEATTLE - A widely cited University of Washington model predicts U.S. deaths from COVID-19 will reach nearly 300,000 by Dec. 1.

+ Read More

THREE LAKES - On Thursday, August 20th starting at 10:00 AM the Demmer Library will be giving away 100 trees.

+ Read More

DETROIT - Joe Biden's Democratic presidential campaign has launched a new national ad focused on Black Americans, urging them to stand up to President Donald Trump the way their ancestors stood up to "violent racists of a generation ago."

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers Thursday announced more than $32 million in financial assistance to the University of Wisconsin (UW) System and the University of Wisconsin-Madison as they prepare to welcome students back to campus this fall. 

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - It's world breastfeeding week: a time to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

When it comes to getting a newborn the nutrients it needs, breastfeeding is the safest and healthiest option. They get everything they need to grow healthy and strong in their mother's milk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says increasing breastfeeding could save more than 800,000 newborns every year, the majority being under six months old.

Newborns can also develop immunity to illnesses like colds from receiving breast milk.

And the benefits of breastfeeding aren't just for the baby.

Jackie Barnet is a lactation consultant at the Aspirus birthing center in Wausau. She helps new moms get ready to breastfeed.

She says mothers who breastfeed have a lesser chance of developing some cancers.

"Moms also have lots of benefits of breastfeeding. One of them is a decreased risk of breast cancer," said Barnet.

A decreased risk of ovarian cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes are among the benefits. The practice also helps moms recover from childbirth faster.

The staff at Aspirus' birthing center have seen changes in the relationship between mothers and their newborn.

Now that the building has limited visitors because of coronavirus, mothers are spending more quality time with their baby.

+ Read More

NEW YORK - The day after Donald Trump's election in November 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union posted a message to him on its website: "See you in court."

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: