Dear Darlene and GreenYes members:
I work for a public agency that manages a curbside residential recycling
program for a largely rural upstate (really upstate - on the shore of
Lake Ontario) county. All the materials collected by private contrators
is brought to our Materials Recovery Facility. We are then responsible
for preparing for market, shipping and returning the revenue to support
our operations. We have been doing this for 10 years.
We first collected only #2 plastic at drop-off sites around the
county before the curbside program began. Then we collected only #2 in
the curbside program. Three years ago we expanded our recycling
building and could then expand the program to include all types of
plastic containers - #1 - #7.
It has not been easy for any of the materials. We have dealt with
several start-up and/or struggling companies over the years. Plastics
recycling is much more in its infancy than any of the other materials.
There is a disconnect between the raw material producers and the
recycled-material users that does not exist in metals, papers, or glass.
The plastics industry has created a huge demand by grocery
manufacturers and by the public. (I'm glad my shampoo bottle is not
glass.) They created and established the "chasing arrows" recycling
symbol to convince both lay people and recyclers that plastics is
recyclable, but the plastics producers have not helped very much with
the recycling system. And the plastics industry continues to spend
money on those commercials that convince us as consumers that plastics
In your particular situation what I would say is that your trash
hauler is having trouble marketing the materials. (We also work with
several other small counties & municipalities to market their
plastics.) The hauler may or may not have been given some kind of lame
excuse by the markets, or just decided to use the hot-button issue of
carcinogens. Economy of scale is very important, especially in
plastics. All plastics are not created equal or recycled equally. The
more materials you can pull together, the better.
I wish you luck. If you would like to contact me directly, please
Public Relations/Education Coordinator
Western Finger Lakes
Solid Waste Management Authority
9 Pearl St., P.O. Box 36
Lyons, NY 14489
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 31 2000 - 15:42:14 EDT