NEWFANE -- Vacuum cleaners, chairs and baby items were among the recent, unwelcome additions to Newfane's recycling center.
That promoted a reminder that the big green roll-off bins are for recyclables only, and that the town must pay for disposal of assorted trash left there.
Windham Solid Waste Management District is weighing the future of such bins in area towns, given pending changes in state recycling laws. But in the meantime, district Executive Director Bob Spencer said periodic illegal dumping is an issue.
"It's an ongoing battle," Spencer said.
Spencer said he met last year with Newfane officials about trash dumping at the bins, which sit in the parking lot outside the town office off Route 30.
Newfane Selectboard Chairman Gary Katz said the town "has been routinely paying somebody to come by and try to take care of the stuff that doesn't make it into the containers."
The recent dumping is evidence of what has become a perennial concern.
"From time to time, there are problems over there," Katz said. "It's very clear what it says on those containers."
Those containers may not be around much longer, depending on what Windham Solid Waste's board decides.
Vermont's new waste-management law, Act 148, incrementally ramps up recycling requirements over the next several years. Since haulers will be required to collect recyclables in 2015, and trash facilities will be required to accept such material, the need for roll-off bins is in question.
He said unattended bins are used in 11 of the district's towns. The Windham Solid Waste board has drafted a survey to gauge who uses those facilities, and how often.
Spencer said the district spends $100,000 annually to service the recycling bins. But he also said no decisions have been made regarding their future.
There is some thought that, once Vermont implements a mandatory "pay as you throw" trash system statewide, unattended recycling bins would become even more of a magnet for dumping.
If the bins stick around that long, though, Spencer isn't sure that will be the case.
As the system now stands, and in spite of periodic problems with illegal dumping, Katz said he would be concerned about "negative implications" if the public recycling bins were removed from Newfane.
"Just from the volume every week, it seems like a lot of people do use them," Katz said. "And most of it is for legitimate recycling."