Turning trash into cash

Earth-conscious Norwalk residents need not fear that the city is tossing their recyclables in the trash. Norwalk Safety Service Director Dale Sheppard said he had received numerous calls from concerned citizens about sanitation workers picking up recycling bags along with the trash. However, he said there is no need for concern because the workers are simply moving the bags to one location for the entire street.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Earth-conscious Norwalk residents need not fear that the city is tossing their recyclables in the trash.

Norwalk Safety Service Director Dale Sheppard said he had received numerous calls from concerned citizens about sanitation workers picking up recycling bags along with the trash. However, he said there is no need for concern because the workers are simply moving the bags to one location for the entire street.

"People are seeing the sanitation workers picking up bags of recyclables and think we're just throwing it away," Sheppard said. "But in fact, we are just moving as many stops as we can to one location."

About 30 percent of the city recycles. However, non-paper based recyclables referred to as comingled trash are placed in bags and a yellow tie is used to indicate they are for recycling. Therefore, if the sanitation workers did not grab the recyclable bags at each stop, the big, red recycling truck would have to stop at every home.

The truck already must stop at the 25 percent of the homes in city that are using the blue recycling box for paper-based products such as newspapers, magazines and glossy junk mail and advertising inserts. However, Sheppard pointed out stops with the blue paper recycling boxes can be determined without having workers get out of the truck.

The city pays $25 per ton to have the comingled trash processed, items such as plastic bottles, glass and aluminum. That adds up to about $400 per month or $4,800 per year.

However, the city makes money on the paper items $40 to $45 per ton. The city collects $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year. Meaning, overall the city ends up making about $25,000 a year on its recycling program.

Paper products make up about 38 percent of the material in U.S. landfills, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Any Norwalk resident who is not currently recycling but would like to begin can get a blue paper box at the sanitation garage on Layland Road with identification to prove you are a Norwalk resident. Yellow tags for bottles and cans can be picked up at multiple locations, including city hall and local grocery stores.