Recycling guy talks sheetrockWelcome to the second column of “Ask the Recycling Guy.” In the past month I have had numerous correspondences with readers who have questions on local recycling practices and markets.
By: By Steve Christen/The Recycling Guy, Superior Telegram
Welcome to the second column of “Ask the Recycling Guy.” In the past month I have had numerous correspondences with readers who have questions on local recycling practices and markets. In a lot of cases, questions were asked as what will be next on the recycling docket here locally. In particular, I received a question on sheet rock recycling from a local reader who signed his name “Eric Von Zipper.” (Wasn’t he the idiotic motorcycle gang leader in the movie “Beach Blanket Bingo” with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funacello, who has a crazy resemblance to our own Warren Bender?)
Interestingly enough, there has been an effort since 2008 to find a local recycling outlet for sheet rock. Troy Walker, of Walker Construction and Tim Hagen with NRRI, in association with UMD has been working with local companies to find use for this material that is now destined for local landfills. Sheet rock is currently being recycled in different parts of the country. In the southwest, the need for calcium in the soil makes ground up sheet rock a valuable commodity for soil enhancement. Other parts of the country have gypsum plants (gypsum is a primary component of sheet rock) where they grind the scraps from construction sites and reuse this product in the manufacturing of roofing materials. USG is a good example of a company that uses this in their manufacturing process, however; the local plant in Cloquet is not set up for this as yet. Unfortunately our soil here receives no benefit from incorporating ground wall board. Since this offers little or no soil enhancement benefit, the costs involved in incorporating this in local soils just can’t be justified. Also, as there are no gypsum plants locally, transportation of this material is cost restrictive. I am told that something is in the works with a local company that may see a pilot program established within the next year. I promise to keep snooping and make you aware of any developments on this front.
Here are a couple of e-mail questions (e-mail address is listed at the end of this article) I have received in the last month.
Dear Recycle Guy,
My husband works in a facility that discards a lot of wooden furniture. Is there any means to recycle this type of wood?
Dear Just Wondering;
In the words of the famous philosopher of our times, Kermit the Frog, “Sometimes it’s hard being Green” To answer your question I spoke with Mike Polzin, who is the buyer of the biomass fuel for Minnesota Power. Allete’s Hibbard facility in Duluth burns biomass as a coal substitute in the generation of electricity. By using biomass they reduce their carbon emissions. Any kind and type of treated wood hold resins. These resins, when burned, create residues in the emissions that can put Hibbard out of compliance with their emissions. The answer to your question depends on how the wood is treated. Have your husband call me at 218-721-4206 and we’ll look into it deeper. When it comes to recycling, patience is the key. Remember, given time even grass becomes milk.
Dear Recycling Guy
My wife and I are in the midst of remodeling our bathroom. We want to get rid of an old “claw foot” style bath tub. What recycling options do we have?
“Covered in Dust”
Dear Covered in Dust,
Hats off to you, with this kind of effort you must be a hero at home! To answer your question I went to Simko, here in north Superior, and talked with Steve Kinnesburg. (Steve has been in the scrap business so long that is rumored he was at Kitty Hawk when he heard what Wilbur and Orville Wright were going to try to do. He figured there would be a big pile of scrap metal to buy at the end of the day.) Simko buys all types of scrap metal, including aluminum cans and copper. Claw bathtubs are traditionally made of cast iron. This is considered unprepared scrap metal. This has a value of $.09 per pound. Be aware however, there is a 500 pound minimum to receive payment. You may want to throw that old lawnmower or snow blower on top of the load. Call Simko at 715-394-3852, and speak to Craig or Tammy, with your scrap metal recycling questions.
Keep you recycling question coming. Email any comments or inquiries to “email@example.com” Thanks, Steve (The Recycling Guy) Christen