Thursday, January 14, 2021

Details about Recycling in Adrian provided by Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service, Inc.

I asked our local recycling provider Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service, Inc. for clarification about the recycling of plastics 1 and 2 and how they deal with plastics 3-7 that should not be included into their recycling bins but probably ends there quite often. I also inquired about glass that should also not be included into the Stevens' residential recycling collection but most probably also ends up in the totes:

Q: As I am diligently separating type 1 and 2 plastics from other types and bring those plastics and my glass bottles to the county recycling center, I am wondering how many of the 600 subscribing residents in Adrian do this – and how much contaminated recycling you must get. Judging for myself, I did not know about these changes through direct communication by your company – or through the Daily Telegram and only heard of it when I contacted you – it is on the online flyer – but how many customers will actively look for them. So I am sure you get a lot of contamination – can you assure me that you can still recycle paper and cardboard although you probably get a lot of contamination by glass shreds – and that you can effectively recycle metals and type 1 and 2 plastics - due to an effective manual or automatic sorting process? Also, do you recycle plastics 1 and 2 via Clean Tech in Dundee, who does bottle recycling of these valuable resources?
A: Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service, Inc.'s single stream recycling is taken directly to the recycling centers from route.  They are currently using Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority and Hamtramck Recycling. Loads from commercial cardboard only dumpsters are taken directly to Gateway Recycling.

I inquired with both residential recycling centers that Stevens serves, but only Marc Williams, the manager of the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority responded. Below are his responses:

Q: How do you recycle plastics 1 and 2? A: WWRA sorts the commingled plastic into three different types HDPE NAT, HDPE MC AND PET. (these are the most common 1&2) we send it to cleanTech in Dundee MI.

Q: Are these plastics physically recycled (bottle to bottle) or liquified? A: Once at Cleantech the plastic is washed shredded then melted back into pellets and used in making new bottles like Absopure and Tide, Another use is clothing like North Face and Patagonia.

Q: What happens to plastics 3-7? A: 3-7 plastic has become much more difficult to move in the recent years.  Most of the time we have to pay to make sure this commodity is recycled. It becomes very expensive once you add in labor trucking etc..

Q: What about glass? A: Our system isn't set up to have glass meet the quality that is needed to have put back to market.  We have drop off stations located on our webpage that accept glass. This glass separate from the Single-Stream can meet the standard required for further processing. This year alone we recycled 241 tons by this collection method. The glass that is mixed with our Single-Stream is crushed as it goes through our sorting system and ejects from the recyclable along with anything else that is smaller than 1.5 inches . All that material  consequently goes to a landfill. This system removes the glass from the paper and cardboard making them still recyclable. 

In most cases of contamination WWRA would prefer for it to be disposed of with the trash.

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