Thursday, February 04, 2010

More Recycling Stuff

Sent an e-mail to the Arcata Community Recycling Center last week. They process all the recyclables from Eureka. As I'd brought up here before, I was curious about how much trash they get mixed in with recyclables. I'm constantly going around looking in people's recycling bins and see lots of non- recyclables thrown in with recyclables.

So how much trash do they get? Copied and pasted from Patti Johnson's e-mail:

On to the numbers. For the last quarter of 2009, we had an average residual rate (percentage of tonnage processed that was not recycled) of 3.78% (85.52 out of 2,264.68 tons). December was a particularly high month with 37.99 tons of residual trash representing 5.1% of our processed volume. At the Humboldt Waste Management Authority's tip rate of $155.56/ton, this translates to an additional cost of $5909.72 for ACRC to dispose of trash in December alone. Pretty appalling.

So, December was actually at the lower end of what I would of expected from my personal observations. I was guessing between 5 and 10 percent.

She also wrote that the percentage of trash to recyclables is increasing about 1% a year. That would mean even more increased costs for recycling in addition to lower prices for recyclables because of the glut.

Not looking good for the long run and I can't help but wonder how much mandatory recycling is hurting rather than helping the recycling effort.

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3 Comments:

At 6:33 PM, Blogger kaivalya said...

That's really interesting.
Thanks for the thoughtful post Fred.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Mike Seeber said...

While our residue rate increased roughly 1% in 2009, it would be premature to say that it's increasing about 1% a year. We are in the early stages of mandatory curbside recycling, and it is expected that a lot of customers are new to this and are putting materials in the recycling cart that do not belong there. We expect, over time, that customers will become more educated and aware of what is and is not recyclable, and that our residue rate will level off and hopefully decrease.

In my opinion, mandatory recycling IS helping "the effort", simply because it brings the convenience of recycling to your home, and doesn't require you to waste time and energy delivering, and sorting it yourself. We have seen this to be true as there has been a significant, and steady volume increase in curbside materials coming into our processing facility, while material volumes at our Arcata and Eureka drop-off facilities have not significantly decreased. This leads us to conclude that a lot of "new" recyclers are out there, which is exactly what we've hoped for.

I hope this sheds a little more light on the subject, and our staff is always happy to answer any other questions you may have.


Mike Seeber
Operations Director,
Arcata Community Recycling

PS, we have a blog at
http://www.compulsiverecycler.blogspot.com/

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for the additional info, Mike.

In my opinion, mandatory recycling IS helping "the effort", simply because it brings the convenience of recycling to your home, and doesn't require you to waste time and energy delivering, and sorting it yourself.

Well, we all know how I feel about that. Whatever.

What you don't seem to be considering is that there was already a glut of recyclables on the market because of the worldwide recession. Now, with yet more recyclables in the market that glut is likely to get worse. As more communities require recycling as time goes on, I foresee us having to pay to get rid of recyclables like we pay to get rid of trash. You won't be able to give them away.

 

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