If all goes as planned, the recycling facility will reopen in August or September, but there will be changes in how the center operates.

The closure of the recycling center in Lake Ozark is only temporary, according to Laclede Industries, the sheltered workshop that operates the service.

If all goes as planned, the recycling facility will reopen in August or September, but there will be changes in how the center operates.

Linda Kimrey, director of Laclede Industries, said the facility is undergoing redesign and remodeling for both the safety of employees as well as looking at ways to make recycling more convenient for the general public.

“We hope to have our facility reopen sometime in August, but I am not sure we will make that time line. It is really dependent upon the construction company,” she said.

The biggest change will be how the center is set up to receive recyclables, she said. Customers will be expected to place their items in Gaylord containers that will be labeled. Staff will be on site to monitor what goes into the Gaylords, but it will be a self service facility.

“Since opening the Laclede Industries Recycling Center at 43 Valley Road in Lake Ozark, it has been our pleasure to provide recycling services for the general public. Our dream was to allow the public a convenient and sustainable opportunity to become involved in recycling as we furthered our mission to provide dignified employment to individuals with disabilities,” she said.

The original business plan for the operation was to provide a presorted drop-off site only. Customers were invited to bring recycling materials presorted to place them in designated areas with minimal supervision from Laclede Industries’ staff.

In an effort to provide customer service, the site soon became “full service” where employees trained to sort plastic recycling when it was not done by customers first as well as helping customers unload recycling materials from their vehicles.

Now, due to safety concerns for employees, Kimrey said the site must return to its original format of accepting presorted drop-off recycling only.

Unloading recycled materials for customers puts employees at a risk of injuring themselves or customers’ property, and sorting through recycling that has been casually dumped at the site places employees at risk of being injured by hazardous materials or sharp objects that are never acceptable recycling items, Kimrey explained.

From a financial aspect, Kimrey said the drop-off general public site is simply an accommodation and is not profitable to operate. Laclede Industries covers its operational costs and earns profits from the Lake Ozark commercial recycling contracts for cardboard.

“We will continue to provide presorted drop-off recycling services only for the general public. We request and will enforce this requirement of presorted recycling and customer handling of materials. Our staff will not accept recyclables that are not presorted and placed in containers by customers nor items dumped outside the site during non-operational hours,” Kimrey said.

When the facility reopens, Kimrey said they want to make it as easy as possible and eliminate the public having to wait.

"As such, we are going to attempt to make a circle drive in our lot where people can drive through and drop in containers on the property," she said. "We will also have cameras on sight to catch the few people that like to bring and leave items we don't accept."