Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going Green with Granddad

As I mentioned in my Wichita Christmas post, Granddad saves up his recycling for months at a time.  He usually takes Chicago Cousin with him to the recycling plant to sort and process it all.  This time all the grandkids went.  Here they are loading up at the house:

And unloading at the plant:

And sorting:

Ok, but folks the real punchline of all this is what a crazy recycler my dad is and how he once had a quote in the newspaper about it.  They were shutting down some of the recycling options in Wichita back in 2002 and he was quoted as being very disappointed about it.  I think the article was originally in the Wichita Eagle, and then it got reprinted in a recycling magazine.  That is all I could find to copy here.  I highlighted the part about dad below.  Our favorite line, that we quote all the time is "I am not even a democrat!"



Sedgwick County drops glass, but adds magazines.

Beginning December 1, those who recycle in Sedgwick County, Kansas, will have an easier time getting rid of magazines and Christmas catalogs.
But only the most determined will be able to recycle their pickle jars and beer bottles.
Sedgwick County, which operates drop-off bins at area grocery stores, is changing its recycling program by dropping glass and adding magazines.
Curbside recycling programs offered by trash companies also will stop taking glass this week.
The county had little choice in making the switch, said Jo Sanders, the county's recycling coordinator.
Weyerhaueser, the paper company that processes recyclables from the drop-off and curbside programs in Wichita, decided it would no longer accept glass.
Not only was the company losing money on glass recycling, but shards of glass were causing its equipment to break down and injure employees, according to Bridget Lemen, the plant manager.
Those who still want to recycle glass can pay Prairie Dog Recycling a monthly fee to pick up glass, plastics, magazines, newspapers and other recyclables.
Residents also can take their glass bottles to Kamen Inc., 800 E. 21st Street.
Sanders said because it is easier for people to store and handle magazines than glass, the change may boost the county's recycling rate, which lags well behind the national average.
While recycling has increased during the past year, Sedgwick County residents still recycle only about 3 percent of their residential trash each month. The national average is about 23 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither figure includes composting of yard and food waste.
The loss of another recycling option frustrates Dick Daeschner, an east-side minister who describes himself as an "ordinary citizen who recycles everything I can."
"I'm not doing this as a cause," he said. "I'm not an environmentalist. I'm not even a Democrat. It seems to me I ought to be recycling as much as I can."
His family of three recycles so much that he puts out the garbage every other week.
Since it will be harder to recycle glass and plastic, the amount of trash he throws away will increase, Daeschner said.
"The trend is moving contrary to what we all say we value," he said.
Other communities also are struggling with glass recycling.
On the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area, some communities are also dropping their glass recycling program.
Ironically, glass manufacturers need the recycled glass. They use less energy to make new glass bottles from used glass containers than when they must make new glass from raw materials such as sand.
But the manufacturers can't pay enough to offset the shipping and sorting costs.
The two largest metropolitan areas dropping glass is a blow to the state's recycling effort, said Chiquita Cornelius, director of the Kansas Business and Industry Recycling Program, a nonprofit group based in Topeka that promotes recycling.
"That means an awful lot of glass is going back into the landfill," she said. - The Wichita Eagle

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