Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 2, 2013

Reasons to recycle outweigh reasons not to

Almost half of Batesville's residents take the time now

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — “An average American generates nearly 1 ton of trash a year, but all that waste doesn’t have to go to the landfill,” notes the Web site www.rumpkerecycling.com. Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc., Cincinnati, offers Batesville residents a convenient, curbside recycling program.

“We estimate about 45 percent of Batesville residents participate,” says Molly Yeager Broadwater, senior corporate communication coordinator. That means collectively, the city’s citizens recycle an estimated – and amazing – 30 tons per month.

Local customers don’t need to separate their materials by type. All can be mixed together in the recycling container (please see box). Residents are reminded to place their bins at curbs the night before their scheduled collection days because Rumpke drivers start their jobs very early.

What should be discarded into the bins? “Residents should stick to only those items on Rumpke’s acceptable item list,” which include clean plastic bottles and jugs; any color glass bottles and jars; aluminum and steel cans; cardboard (please flatten, fold or cut into pieces small enough to fit into recycling container); pizza boxes; paperboard, such as cereal or cracker boxes; newspapers, magazines and catalogs; office paper, junk mail and envelopes.

A tip from Broadwater: To save space, “ideally, we ask residents to squeeze all the air out of plastic bottles prior to re-attaching the lids.” This helps to ensure they remain on the bottles when they are baled. Lids that aren’t attached can’t be properly sorted at the plant.

Rain doesn’t ruin the best intentions to recycle. According to the communication coordinator, “Rumpke can still accept soggy paper in its recycling program.”

“Wrong items placed in recycling bins can cause big problems for employees, vehicles and recycling facilities,” Broadwater notes. “For example, plastic bags aren’t accepted in Rumpke’s recycling program for numerous reasons. However, a big reason is because they get caught around the sortation equipment at the recycling centers and cause the plant to shut down.

“Residents often toss medical sharps (syringes) in their recycling containers. This could injure drivers or recycling plant employees.”

She points out potentially flammable items put in bins could start truck or facility blazes. “A flammable item was likely the cause of the fire that destroyed our Cincinnati recycling center.”

The trucks that collect recyclables here start and end their days at Rumpke’s offices in Colerain Township, Hamilton County, Ohio. For its vast trash and recycling operations, the company employs nearly 2,400 from the Tristate.

Trucks transport Batesville materials to a transfer station in Cincinnati. Recyclables are weighed, off-loaded and reloaded onto transfer trailers to be transported to Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, recycling centers. According to her, “This is only temporary,” while the Cincinnati facility is rebuilt. Once it opens, local recyclables will go directly to that center, which will be “one of the largest and technologically advanced residential recycling systems in the United States, capable of sorting more than 50 tons of material per hour.”

The recyclables are loaded into a drum feeder and travel through a series of machines to separate the material by type during the single-stream process. Broadwater suggests, “To see how we do this, visit www.RumpkeCleanAndGreen.com and watch our recycling videos.”

Separated materials are then shipped to different regional and global manufacturers to be turned into new products. The coordinator explains that plastic bottles can become irrigation pipes, carpet and strapping tape; glass items end up as fiberglass insulation and glass containers; cardboard, paperboard and paper are made into other paper products; aluminum cans become new cans; and steel cans are transformed into fresh products.

Recycling has many benefits. It saves natural resources, such as oil, which is used to make plastic; iron ore, which is needed to manufacture steel; bauxite, which is required to make aluminum; and trees, which are needed for paper, Broadwater says. “Recycling also saves energy as it takes less energy to make a product from recycled material than it does to make the same product from virgin products.”

She concludes, “Recycling also saves landfill space. Current studies show that more than half of what people discard into landfills on a daily basis could be reduced, reused or recycled. Currently, Rumpke estimates its Colerain Township Landfill has 13 years of disposal space left under its current permit. Rumpke is trying to expand the site to provide an additional 30 years of disposal capacity.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

HOW TO START • To receive a free 18-gallon red recycling bin, persons may either call the city of Batesville at 933-6100 or Rumpke at 800-582-3107. Residents can also upgrade to a 65-gallon recycling cart for $1.50 per month (billed quarterly) by calling Rumpke. The cart holds four times more material than the bin and feature a lid and wheels.