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Recycle center activity up in 2013 over 2012

The amount of recyclable materials Pierce County’s recycling center processed last year increased over the previous year, according to the annual report from the solid waste department.

Approximately 2,833 tons of recyclable materials were processed in 2013, up from the 2,392 tons processed in 2012. Likewise, the amount marketed and shipped rose to 2,840 tons in ’13 from 2,265 tons in ’12.

A breakdown of primary recyclable materials shipped and marketed last year shows: cardboard, 1,090 tons; paper, 787 tons; aluminum cans, 0 tons (although 23 tons of these were processed, none were shipped due to the market price never reaching the department’s targeted price-per-pound goal); steel cans, 49 tons; traditional plastics (#1 PETE and #2 HDPE), 137 tons; glass combined (clear, brown and green), 638 tons; and scrap metal combined (ferrous and non-ferrous metals), 107 tons.

Except for the aluminum and steel cans, the amounts in each of these categories represented increases over the previous year.

Last year, the average price paid for materials was $97 per ton, a decrease of $31 from the average per-ton price of $128 paid in ’12.

Among solid waste activities and statistics for ‘13, the department receipted 2,128 customers (households, farms and businesses) visiting the recycling center to deliver non-chemical waste-steam items (appliances, electronics, fluorescent lamps, ballasts, LP tanks, tires and bulky waste items). The year before, the department had receipted 2,213 such customers.

Also in ’13, 522 customers delivered/disposed of 144,000 pounds/72 tons of bulky-waste type items (furniture, mattresses, carpeting, construction debris and the like). In ’12, the number of such customers was 553.

Department goals for last year included developing a business plan to support logistics and economic feasibility of processing single-stream recyclable materials. Toward this end, there was a visit to Red Wing’s single-sort waste/recycling facility, discovering two private waste haulers willing to deliver single-stream recyclables to the center, test-processing some single-stream materials on the center’s material processing line and installing a fines screen on the center’s fiber material processing line for experimentation, which was to be completed by early this year.

Other goals involved exploring ways to increase incoming recycling material volumes, plus reducing budget costs and increasing budget revenues. In this regard, a recycling cooperative agreement with Pepin County was signed as a top measure. In ’13, the center here accepted and processed 562 tons of recyclable materials collected and transported by Pepin County.

For more please read the June 18 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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