Millville recycle drop-off plan heads to scrap heap

The recycling drop-off center proposed for the intersection of Route 17 and Powell Farm Road at Millville By the Sea is not going to happen after all.

Earlier this year, Millville Mayor Don Minyon announced that a spot had been found to replace the former drop-off center at Doric Lodge No. 30, on Route 26, across from Millville Town Hall, after lodge members had requested its removal.

He also said that the Roxana Volunteer Fire Co. planned to conduct a controlled burn to remove the buildings on the property, and the Millville Group would then build a 40-foot-by-40-foot gravel parking lot and the Delaware Solid Waste Authority would then bring back the recycling bins for the public to use. While the buildings were soon removed, that’s where things went awry.

The plan, at that time, was for the new site to be up and running by this past summer. But it now appears the location won’t be available at all.

“Unfortunately, I’m 99 percent sure that is not happening,” said Rich Von Stetten Sr., manager of Statewide Recycling at DSWA. “We were hoping to be able to put one down by Millville By the Sea, but they decided against. It took a lot of efforts on all parties, but it just wasn’t going to happen.”

With news that the new drop-off center would not be happening, Millville started exploring how to get a curbside recycling program for in-town residents that would be operational this spring. There are a number of options that could be exercised when their trash hauling contract is up in the April of 2009. They can either continue working with DSWA, try to bid the job out other vendors or could have residents sign up themselves, as individual DSWA subscription customers.

Von Stettan noted that Fenwick Island did a similar thing when the town removed their recycling center at town hall and instead chose to go with a municipal curbside recycling program. Unlike in Fenwick Island, the town of Millville was not the host of the original drop-off center but officials did try to work with DSWA and Von Stettan to find a suitable place for the center, because it did serve so many of its residents, as well as people in close neighboring towns.

“It’s unfortunate for people outside of town limits,” he said. “But, with offering curbside, Millville looks at it like they are taking care of their residents.”

Von Stetten said DSWA has 165 recycling drop-off centers now, and that number has continued to grow, despite the loss of some sites and curbside recycling now being an option as well. DSWA is always looking for more drop-off sites to benefit the communities they are in, he said, and he wants to make sure that people know that a removal of a station is never “just because.”

“There’s a misconception that people think that DSWA just pulls it,” he said, of when a center has to close or move. “But, there is a reason for it. It is at the request of the site sponsor.”

State Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38th) said this week that he is actively trying to find a suitable site for another drop-off center because of the growth of interest in recycling and also because of the need, but he was also not convinced the Powell Farm Road and Route 17 intersection was the best spot.

“DSWA does a great job,” he said. “There are more bins through them all the time. But, to have one that close, less than mile away from where the transfer station used to be [on Burton Farm Road]… I’d rather see one on the other end of the district.”

Hocker said one possibility would be using a spot near the Delmarva Power substation near the Fresh Pond property off of Route 1, just north of Fred Hudson Road. He said it is an ideal spot in that there are no houses around, it has an already useable entrance and it would be convenient for people in the Bethany Beach and Ocean View and surrounding areas.

“It’s really growing,” said Hocker, of the interest in recycling and the need for more drop-off centers. “We do need another location, and the state has the property.”

For residents who are not signed up for curbside recycling, the closest drop-off center to the one that closed in Millville is located at 33086 Burton Farm Road, east of Frankford. There is also one in the town of Frankford, near the water tower; one in the town of Dagsboro at the Masonic lodge; one in the town of Selbyville across from town hall; and one at 39415 Inlet Road, off Route 1, just before the Inlet Bridge, on the right heading south.

Von Stetten said that DSWA would welcome hearing from individuals or businesses interested in hosting a drop-off center. DSWA has provided the state with recycling drop-off centers since 1990 and has recycled an average of 3 million pounds per month. Even though they now have 38,000 curbside recycling customers throughout the state, drop-off centers continue to increase in other parts of the county and state. For more information, visit or call 1-800-404-7080.