New curbside service nets better recycling habitsGreetings fellow recycling enthusiasts! During the course of the last month a lot of you have had questions on the curbside recycling program that is being done locally by Hartels/DBJ of Proctor.
By: By Steve Christen/“The Recycling Guy”, Superior Telegram
Greetings fellow recycling enthusiasts!
During the course of the last month a lot of you have had questions on the curbside recycling program that is being done locally by Hartels/DBJ of Proctor.
Hartels/DBJ was awarded this work on a competitive bid that was put out a few years ago. In that time, recycling percentages, and ways we as a community recycle, has changed.
I took the opportunity recently to discuss the current curbside program with the owner and general manager, Dan Hartel. He brought some very interesting insights to our communities recycling habits.
Hartels/DBJ has worked very hard not only to gather all the possible post-consumer recycling items they can, but the real story here is what happens to your recyclables once they pick it up from your home. The material is taken to their facility in Proctor where it is sorted and separated into material specific categories. Then it is condensed and baled or packaged for end markets. Items are shipped in bulk to facilities in the Midwest.
The process that they use creates a very clean and desirable commodity. Not all facilities can make this claim.
When asked about changes that have taken place during their contract period, Dan spoke of two issues that he feels are significant.
First being the recycling cart. Each home owner and resident of a four-plex or smaller should have a recycling cart. These carts are to be placed curbside (or alley side) on the day of pickup by 6 a.m. The recycling is picked up every other week and usually coincides with garbage pickup.
A side note to this is that we at Always Available Roll Off have partnered with Hartels/DBJ and have a few of their dumpsters placed at our drop off site located at 1021 Garfield Avenue here in Superior. So, if you happened to miss your recycling day you can bring all your curbside recycling to us at no extra cost.
The second issue that Dan feels is prevalent is that when they first received the contract, it was estimated that 30 percent of the households were actively recycling. Hartel now states that 60 percent of the households can claim active recycling habits.
When asked what would be the next step for our community recycling program; Hartel said that a lot of what happens in the future depends on the development of accessible recycling markets.
With my years of dealing with residential recycling, I know that as an industry, there is very little that cannot be recycled. The problem is, you need a trainload of the material and it needs to be shipped to Pigs Knuckle, Arkansas — or some other fictitious place — and the cost factor just doesn’t make it feasible.
As industry retools to accept recycled materials as opposed to virgin, recycling odd items will become the practice. Your child’s (or in some cases, your husband’s) old plastic Big Wheel for instance. Certainly made of plastic, but because of handling issues it’s just not cost effective, at this time, to include in the current curbside program.
As residents, we can help our vendor by adhering to the following practices.
• Only put recyclable materials in the recycling container. To contaminate your recycling with refuse causes real problems with product purity on the other end.
• Deter from using bags, especially plastic bags. The automated process by which recyclables are sorted is not set up to rip open the bags, and thus this is done by hand, very labor intensive.
• When setting your cart out for pickup, please make sure there is a 3-foot space between other carts and obstructions. The automated arm that dumps the carts requires that there be space in which to grab and release the cart.
Further information specific to Superior’s program can be found at www.hartels/dbj.com. Simply click on the recycling icon and note the Superior Page. Last, but not least, if you have any questions, you are invited to call their office during normal business hours at (218) 729-5446.
In our “Ask the Recycling Guy’ segment I received a couple of interesting questions.
Dear Recycle Guy:
Will we ever get to where we as a society produce “zero waste”?
Signed – “Zero”
Zero Waste is a huge goal! I think we would first attempt to go “zero landfills.” This would be accomplished by taking the residue waste left over after all of the recycling and reclamation is done and turning it into energy. Typically this is done through incineration where the resulting energy produced is recaptured as electricity.
Dear Recycle Guy:
I am in the midst of doing my spring cleaning. When I get to throwing stuff it’s hard to stop. Do I get a free pass on recycling when doing my spring cleanup?
Signed – “Recycling Guy’s Daughter”
Dear Recycling Guy’s
You of all people should know better than this! From now on I am referring to you as my wife’s daughter! You know the answer to this and you’re just getting back at me because I never got you a pony when you were little. Spring cleanup is the perfect time to recycle. Start two piles, a recycle and a waste pile. See how much you can lesson your carbon footprint by making the recycling pile as big as you can. When you’re done I’ll be over to inspect your work! Kids … it just never quits.
Next month we will discuss recycling practices of some our local businesses. Until then, keep picking and sorting! Remember to keep those questions coming to “Ask the Recycling Guy” at firstname.lastname@example.org