Tons recycled in county in ’97 |

Tons recycled in county in ’97

by Linda Hiller

What is the significance of 71 tons of cardboard, 31 tons of aluminum, 69 tons of newspaper, 66 tons of glass, 5 tons of tin, 6 tons of wood and 53 tons of steel?

It represents the total amount of each material that Douglas County residents recycled during 1997.

“We had a great year and I thought people should know how much their recycling has amounted to,” said Jeanne Lear, special programs coordinator at Douglas Disposal. “Last year we processed 229 tons, so the numbers are up.”

The total recycled tonnage for 1997 was more than 300 tons, she said. Douglas Disposal’s recycling program is not mandated by federal law, but is encouraged by the state.

“The state of Nevada tells us, ‘Do whatever you can do as long as it’s economically feasible,'” Lear said. “It’s a good way to do it, rather than say ‘Do it no matter what,’ like some states.”

The economics of recycling are still developing, she said. As prices for recycled material fluctuate with the market, recycling centers experience the same ups and downs.

“For example, at one time we got paid $240 a ton for cardboard and now it’s down to $90 a ton,” she said.

Income from the various recycled material categories pays for the necessary handling and processing of the program. In the end, whether the recycling program ends up costing a bit or making a small profit, the important part is that recycling does reduce what goes into the ground as waste.

“It definitely reduces what we send to the landfill,” Lear said. “Because we are an integrated program, that factors into the whole picture.”

Aluminum has the highest scrap per pound value in the recycling business at this time. Douglas County aluminum is sold to Weyerhauser to most likely be re-made into aluminum cans.

Glass from the county is sold to a company in San Leandro, Calif., where it is remanufactured into glass bottles or other glass products.

Douglas County cardboard and newspaper is sold to companies in Washington and Oregon, where it is frequently made into material for cereal boxes, or chipboard.

Plastic is reworked into carpeting or goes to the Patagonia clothing company, where they process it into fabric and outdoor garments, Lear said.

Steel is sold to a company in Sacramento and reworked into steel products.

“Steel is probably the oldest recycled material, when you think about it,” Lear said. “it has been recycled for hundreds of years.”

Tin (mostly from cans) from Douglas County is sold to a company in Lathrop, Calif., and remelted into other tin products.

Wood, which is largely construction waste, has only recently been included in items residents could turn in to the centers.

Bently Nevada Corp. is currently receiving the recycled wood to be used in compost production as a part of their Agridynamics program.

Douglas Disposal has been recycling for approximately 10 years, Lear said. The improvements in technology have been steady but slow at times, but well worth it in the long run, she said.

“When a material has an intrinsic value, we should re-use it,” Lear said. “It’s worth our time.”

The Valley recycling center is located at the transfer station at the end of Dump Road and can be reached at (702) 782-3925.

The Lake site is at the transfer station on 2192 Ruth Avenue and can be reached at (530) 541-7526.

For more information on the recycling program at Douglas Disposal, Lear can be reached at (530) 541-0366.

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