BeyondBottles Bulky Sept12

Success Stories

If recycling residential bulky rigid plastics is a new activity to a local government or MRF, it is always helpful to learn what others have done to successfully recycle this material. The three case studies below not only outline important components of the residential bulky rigid plastics recycling programs of two cities and one MRF, but they also provide contact information to obtain further, more detailed information.

  • Shakopee, Minnesota
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Oneidea-Herkimer, New York

Residential Bulky Rigids Case Study - Shakopee, MN (and surrounding areas)

FACILITY: Dem-Con Materials Recovery Facility, Shakopee, MN, services customers from MN, WI, IA and parts of Canada

TONS PROCESSED PER YEAR: 60,000 TO 70,000

WEBSITE: www.dem-con.com

YEAR OPENED: 2013

TYPE OF RECYCLING FACILITY: Single stream recycling processor, Dem-Con is the owner and operator

MATERIALS ACCEPTED:

  • Cardboard
  • Catalogs and magazines
  • Boxboard
  • Mixed paper
  • Telephone books
  • Cartons
  • Plastics #1 - #7
  • Aluminum
  • Steel and tin cans
  • Household metals
  • Glass
  • Bulky Rigid Plastics (toys, yard furniture, and plastic bins)


BULKY RIGIDS COLLECTION:
2013

  • The facility has always accepted bulky rigid plastics and the original design was built with an additional pre-sort bunker.
  • Bulky Rigids are manually separated at the beginning of the MRF process.
  • Accept children’s toys, yard furniture, and plastic bins.

REASONS FOR ACCEPTING:

  • Dem-con saw that there were multiple viable end-markets for the material and they thought it made sense to include in the processed stream.
  • By diversifying the stream it makes the MRF more marketable to a greater number of customers. It can also help drive increased tonnage

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:
Dem-con encourages all customers to include Bulky Rigid Plastics in their single stream mix. They also have a Recycling Education Center with a classroom, interactive exhibits, and a ‘sort it out’ station that allows visitors to handle the different materials accepted for recycling at the facility.

PLASTIC RECOVERY VOLUMES:
TOTAL TONS RECYCLED (ALL MATERIALS): 60,000 to 70,000 annually
TOTAL TONS OF RIGID PLASTICS RECYCLED: Dem-con could not report on the specific number of Bulky Rigid Plastic tons recycled. Staff did report that the overall impact on tonnage has been very small.

CHALLENGES:
No major issues.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Adding the material is not a challenge. There are no major issues in adding the material as long as you process it up-front and do not let the bulky rigid plastics get into the automated system.
  • Large Bulky Plastic Rigid Plastics (i.e. kiddie pools) may require special handling to break down and process and you should be prepared for these items.

EXAMPLES OF EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES:

DemConTruck

DemConTruck2

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Bill Keegan
President
Dem-Con Companies: www.dem-con.com

Click here to download a PDF of this Case Study.

Residential Bulky Rigids Case Study - Denver, CO

FACILITY: Alpine Waste and Recycling Altogether Recycling Facility, Denver CO

WEBSITE: http://alpinewaste.com/

TONS PROCESSED PER YEAR: 110,000

YEAR OPENED: 2007

TYPE OF RECYCLING FACILITY: Single stream recycling, Alpine is owner and operator of the MRF

    Materials Accepted Prior to Expansion:

  • Plastic Bottles & Containers #1 - #7
  • Glass Bottles & Jars
  • Tin, Foil, Steel & Aluminum Cans
  • Chipboard
  • Cartons
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Newspapers
  • Mixed paper and office paper
  • Magazines
  • Bulk and junk mail

EXPANDED TO BULKY RIGIDS COLLECTION: 2012

ADDED AT PROGRAM EXPANSION:

  • Bulky Rigid Plastics (buckets, lawn furniture, children’s toys and bins, laundry baskets)
  • Bulky Rigid Plastics are delivered to the MRF both as a component of the single stream mix as well as a separate dedicated stream.

REASONS FOR EXPANDING:

  • Prior to adding Bulky Rigid Plastics Alpine conducted research to ensure that there would be a long-term viable market for the material. The research indicated that there was a viable market for Bulky Rigid Plastics. Alpine next examined their system configuration to determine if they could pull the material without adverse effects to the processing system. Because of the existing MRF design, Alpine found that they were able to implement the program without any significant upgrades of equipment or personnel.
  • Alpine completed a MRF redesign in 2015 / 2016. The new system makes it even easier to pull Bulky Rigid Plastics from the stream.

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:
Alpine encourages customers to include Bulky Rigid Plastics in the single stream mix. This is accomplished mainly by listing the material on accepted material promotional items and on the website.

PLASTIC RECOVERY VOLUMES:
TOTAL TONS RECYCLED (ALL MATERIALS): 110,000 annually
TOTAL TONS OF RIGID PLASTICS RECYCLED: Alpine could not report on the specific number of tons of Bulky Rigid Plastics, but they did repot that the impact has been in the small to medium small range.

CHALLENGES:
No major challenges. Alpine researched all of the impacts very closely prior to implementation (the same process they take with all of their accepted materials) and they expected a positive outcome. In this case, the research proved accurate, Alpine reports it has been a great transition for the company and everything has gone as planned.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Adding the material to the processing stream has helped Alpine increase its customer base, increase revenue, as well as increase the volumes of processed recyclables.
  • The biggest advice that Alpine has for other MRF operators is to plan their facility and processing
    design around adding future materials. For example, in addition the Bulky Rigids upgrade a few years ago, Alpine recently added expanded polystyrene foam to their mix (one of the only MRFs in North America to do so) and the company has room to add more materials to the stream in the future.

EXAMPLE OF EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES:

Altogether ToterSign May20151 Denver 001

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Brent Hildebrand
Vice President
Alpine Waste and Recycling [email protected]

Click here to download a PDF of this Case Study.

Residential Bulky Rigids Case Study - Oneida-Herkimer, NY

SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY: Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (OHSWA), NY

WEBSITE: http://www.ohswa.org/RECYCLE

POPULATION: 298,000

HOUSEHOLDS SERVED: 137,000

TYPE OF PROGRAM: Drop-off Convenience Stations

Recycling Materials Currently Accepted at Drop-off Stations:

  • Recyclables (single stream mix)
  • Household Garbage
  • Trash/Bulk Items
  • Appliances
  • Construction & Demolition Debris (C&D)
  • Tires
  • Yard/Green Waste
  • Automobile & Household Batteries
  • Used Motor Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Propane Cylinders
  • Electronics/Computer Equipment (Monitors, CPUs, Printers, Toner Cartridges) *at select locations only

EXPANDED TO BULKY RIGIDS COLLECTION: 2013
Bulky rigid plastics are accepted at OHSWA’s two residential convenience stations. The authority also accepts bulk loads by appointment from all municipalities in these two county locations as well.

BULKY RIGIDS ACCEPTED LIST:

  • Plastic beverage crates (i.e. milk/soda/beverage crates)
  • Clean plastic drums, totes and empty garbage cans
  • Clean plastic buckets/pails
  • Plastic toys (i.e. playhouses)
  • Plastic tool and gun cases
  • Plastic plant/propagation trays and flower pots
  • Plastic pallets and shelving
  • Plastic laundry baskets
  • Plastic lawn furniture
  • Plastic pet carriers, cat litter containers
  • Plastic recycling bins & carts
  • Large plastic water jugs (1-5 gallon)

REASONS FOR EXPANDING:

  • OHSWA owns and operates their landfill and is constantly looking for new ways to reduce disposal and increase diversion from the landfill.
  • Conducted research on bulky rigids plastics and found that there was a market demand for these commodities. Determined that implementing a program to accept these materials was feasible for them.
  • OHSWA’s program did not require major upgrades since the baler they already owned was capable of baling these collected bulky rigids.

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:

  • OHSWA has a phone app and website look up tool (Am I Recyclable?) that promotes their program, as well as a Recycling Educator position that helps promote all of their programs through events and educational videos.
  • Brochures are used to inform customers where they can recycle bulky rigids, however, they have not conducted a specific outreach program specific to bulky rigid plastics.

PLASTIC RECOVERY VOLUMES:
TOTAL TONS RECYCLED (ALL MATERIALS): 36,800 Tons
TOTAL TONS OF RIGIDS PLASTICS RECYCLED: 165 Tons

CHALLENGES:

  • The program has had no major issues related to bulky rigids. The market has been strong and they have had no problems selling this commodity.
  • The drop-off stations have had some contamination issues related to all materials, not specifically bulky rigid plastics, however, this has not made it difficult to market their bales.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • OHSWA has seen a lot of benefits to adding bulky rigid plastics, including increased diversion in the region, a noticeable decrease in the mount of bulky rigid plastics in the landfill, and increased overall customer satisfaction.
  • It is possible for any community that wants to accept bulky rigids to set up a program. OHSWA staff did not find it to be a difficult process and is available to provide advice to other communities considering similar programs.

EXAMPLES OF EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES:

Website Information:

Herkimer Bulky Accepted

Bulky Rigid Plastic Educational Video


CONTACT INFORMATION:
Emily Albright
Director of Recycling
Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority
[email protected]

Click here to download a PDF of this Case Study