Thursday, November 15, 2012

Visiting my recycling center

Today was America Recycles Day -- an event I had not heard of before, but since my local recycling center (PHASE Recycling in Sandstone, MN) was hosting an open house, I decided to go.  I had always wondered what happened to all that co-mingled material.  Was it really sorted out and re-used?  If so, how?

The tour was very instructive.  And yes, PHASE does sort through it all, starting with a line of people separating out the metals, aluminum, plastics, cardboard, paper, etc.  Then each material is compacted into bales that weigh a thousand pounds or more.  It takes a LOT of plastic bottles to make a bale.  Last year, PHASE reclaimed over TWO MILLION POUNDS of materials to be recycled.  Wow!  And this is not from a big city, either.  Although there are some good-sized towns in Pine County, we are basically rural.

PHASE stands for Pine Habilitation And Support Employment, Inc.  PHASE provides employment for developmentally-challenged individuals, as well as a very good service for our community.  And the building itself is "recycled" -- it used to be Chris's Grocery Store.  When the grocery built a newer, bigger facility nearby and became Chris's Food Center, the old building sat vacant for a while.  Meanwhile, the county was finding it hard to finance their recycling program.  PHASE took it over, acquired the old grocery, refitted it for their needs.  Today, about 30 people work there -- an excellent example of a "green" industry creating jobs!  WAY TO GO!


Deb said...

This is a very positive thing in our community. They also travel to several recycling sheds in the county, where unfortunately they find a lot of "anything goes" when it comes to dumping stuff in the recycling shed.

Yonassan Gershom said...

Yes, that happens. But what I found out yesterday is that if somebody dumps actual trash, they sort through and find something with the address on it and then have the sheriff send a warning notice telling them it is illegal dumping and there's a $700 fine if they do it again. That has stopped a lot of it.

I also learned that they now take a LOT more kinds of things than before -- ALL plastics 1-7 now, not just 1 & 2. Plus magazines, cereal boxes, bread bags, phone books, junk mail and more - they had a flyer with a list, and you can also see the list on their website at -- scroll down on the homepage. In short, there are many things they did not used to take but now have a market for. I was wrongly thinking that plastics 3-7 were just dumped trash, but not any more. Ditto for magazines. But they said yesterday that they take all wood fiber stuff, even the glossy mags & those shiny political flyers (I could have given them a ton of those!)

Deb said...

That is good to know! I wonder how much waste those political flyers generated. I just filled a bag with them and catalogs, now I will be recycling them!