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Salem, Ohio installs a Security Camera above Recycling Containers to Thwart Garbage Dumping

Published by Ellen on May 22, 2012 8:05 AM

The U.S. generates roughly 210 million tons of garbage each year, with the average American producing roughly 4.6 pounds of trash on a daily basis. The problem lies in where people dump their trash. Rather than pay for city disposal services, many individuals illegally dump their garbage elsewhere to save money, even if that’s in recycling bins, in rivers, down hills on hiking trails, or out the window of their vehicle. Sure, they won’t get caught if they’re discreet about it right? Cities across America are beginning to implement effective solutions to make certain they don’t.

Ken Kenst, City Service and Safety Director of Salem, Ohio, came up with a plan to deter people from illegally dumping garbage in the city’s recycling bins. His idea was to install a video surveillance camera above the recycling containers to monitor the coming and going of people to ensure that no garbage dumper would get away with the crime. The video feed, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is sent directly to the police station to be monitored.

As reported on, Kenst’s idea was approved by the city council, and the security camera was installed at the city’s recycling facility in late April of 2012. Protected by a weather-proof enclosure, the camera is accompanied by a sign that reads, “Video Surveillance Camera in Use.”

Kenst was pleased with the result and believes surveillance video will prevent illegal dumping: “I think that’s a pretty good investment if we help solve the problem the problem.” He also believes residents who employ the recycling bins “will look at it as a welcome addition. I think it’s a good thing.” After all, it’s one less spot for garbage dumpers to commit their crime.

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