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Pure glass at the end of Rumpke's recycling process. (Photos by Lauren Heaton)

Recycling grows at Rumpke

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Village Council members paid a visit to several Rumpke sites last month, including the recycling center in Dayton and the sanitary landfill in Cincinnati, to get an update on what happens to the waste and recycling materials that get collected curbside in Yellow Springs.

The Dayton recycling center uses a single stream recycling process, meaning that all the recycling gets dumped into one big pile, which gets sorted at the plant using a combination of automation and hand-sorting. According to Dayton Recycling plant facility manager Richard Welker, 90 percent of the material that comes to the plant gets recycled, including paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and other metals. While cardboard is the most heavily recycled product by volume (the Dayton plant recycles an average of 3,500 tons per month), the yield for each material varies widely depending on the market for the products each makes. When the house building market is strong, for instance, the price per ton for recycled glass used to make insulation can run $80 per ton.

The center recycles only #1 and #2 plastics, which are labeled on the bottoms or sides of the containers and vary considerably from one another and from #3, #4, and #5 plastics, which do not get recycled because there isn’t a market for their reuse. Plastics in the #1 and #2 categories include thin clear plastics in things such as personal water bottles, slightly stronger and transluscent plastics in things such as milk jugs, and thick sturdy plastics in things such as laundry detergent bottles.

The center also recycles all kinds of metals and paper products, which gets used for other products, such as newspaper, carpets, vinyl house siding and insulation products.

A backhoe piles single stream recycling materials before sorting them.

Rumpke flattens and bales the waxed paper orange juice and milk cartons for recycling.

Village Council member Rick Walkey and Rumpke facility manager Richard Welker view the sorting process.

Rumpke’s sanitary landfill, owned by Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. and located north of Cincinnati, is one of the largest landfills in the United States. The landfill currently occupies 230 acres and is increasing annually by 2 million tons of residential and industrial waste.

To read more about Rumpke’s waste and recycling operation, see the Dec. 2 issue of the News.


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