Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recycling plant like a trip to Disney World for this eco-freak

I got to tour a recycling plant for this week’s cover story. How many people get to climb into the hard hat area of a three story automated recycling sorter? I crunched over broken glass and I felt the little earthquake as the shaker did its job, tumbling and sorting the glass from the paper and cardboard.

It was great.

I’ve wanted to tour a recycling facility for years. I was the kid that convinced my family to start recycling. I’ve been a die-hard recycler ever since.

Noblesville residents Craig Lutz and Laura Blank, who work for Republic, gave me the tour of the 96th Street Transfer Station, also known as an MRF—Materials Recovery Facility. This is where all of your trash and recycling goes until the trash gets hauled to one of two landfills—one near Terre Haute or one near Frankfort. You’ll read about what happens to the recycling.

I could talk all day about recycling but I do have a word limit. I know I’ve gotten questions about phone book recycling, and Republic DOES take phone books. The green and yellow Paper Retriever bins around town DON’T—hence the confusion. If you have any other recycling questions, contact me.

I learned a few things—one is that everything is recyclable if you’re willing to go far enough. Republic simply can’t take everything, such as Styrofoam or bubble wrap, but they do take a large variety of items.

My recycling assignment led me through the alleys of downtown Noblesville, watching and waiting for the recycling truck to come through. I finally flagged it down. Thanks, Roger, for letting me take your picture.

That was fun, too.

I spoke with Street Department Commissioner Len Finchum and learned that 50% of the money made through the recycling program comes back to the city to offset cost increases in the contract with Republic. So, it behooves all of us to participate as much as possible in the recycling program.

One more thing—don’t throw E-waste in the trash. As of January 1, all e-waste such as computer monitors, computers, televisions, printers, keyboards, mice, DVD players, VCR’s, etc. can’t go to landfills or be incinerated (Indiana Code 13-20.5). These items, which contain toxic heavy metals, need to be taken to the Hamilton County Hazardous Waste Center, located at 1717 Pleasant St., for safe disposal.

Rock on, recyclers!

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