There’s gold in those hills of trash.
Single-stream method will save money and manpower.
BY CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADER
HANOVER TWP. – Single-stream recycling will save Luzerne County municipalities thousands of dollars, make it easier for residents to participate and free up municipal workers for other tasks, officials said.
Residents of towns that offer single-stream recycling will no longer have to separate paper and cardboard from plastic, steel, glass and aluminum. There will only be one recycling container in homes.
Beginning in February, Kingston and Wilkes-Barre will join the growing list of towns that will use the service offered by Northeast Cartage and Recycling Solutions in Hanover Township.
Municipalities are not charged, and the company markets the recyclables nationally and internationally.
“It allows us to do more with less,” Kingston Administrator Paul Keating said Friday. “It will free up our public works employees 26 weeks out of the year to do other municipal work.”
Keating said Kingston will save a minimum of $60,000, and workers will be able to do road patching, snow plowing, park maintenance and many other jobs that benefit residents.
Angelo Medico and Frank Nockley operate Northeast Cartage and Recycling Solutions. The processing plant is a 40,000-square-foot building on land purchased from the Earth Conservancy.
The business is part of the Louis Cohen Scrapyard that began operations back in the 1800s.
The two men have made a considerable investment – more than $3 million – to buy the necessary equipment. Large bins, conveyor belts and sophisticated equipment that can remove cardboard, then newsprint, then clear plastics, then colored plastics from massive mingled loads.
“It’s the cheapest type of recycling available,” Medico said. “If municipalities are looking to get more out of their budgets, they have to take a serious look at single-stream recycling.”
Some towns, like Kingston, are already signed up. Mayor Tom Leighton of Wilkes-Barre will hold a press conference Monday to announce the city’s participation in the program.
“I am once again proud that the city is a pioneer and a leader of innovative technologies that improve efficiency and save taxpayers money,” Leighton said. To assist residents, the city has printed a list of acceptable recyclable items in the 2012 city calendar, which was delivered to every home in the city and has updated the city’s recycling website -- www.wilkesbarrerecycles.com -- to reflect the changes in the recycling program.
Medico said the Dallas Area Municipal Authority will participate, as well as towns like Edwardsville, Jenkins Township and Butler Township.
He said he is talking to every municipality about the program, as well as local school districts and colleges and universities.
Medico said the closest competition in single-stream recycling is in Northampton County, some 65 miles away.
Northeast Cartage added about 12 people to the payroll for the recycling program. If the “throughput” – a word Medico said he might have invented that means the capacity put through the plant – increases, a second shift might be necessary, or 25 to 30 additional jobs.
Medico said all the recyclable materials brought to the plant are kept inside, reducing the possibility of health concerns like storm water leaching. He said single-stream recycling can lower collection costs, extend the life of landfills and create efficiencies for haulers by reducing the number of their routes to collect recyclables. Municipalities and haulers can use their garbage packers to transport the materials, rather than trucks with multiple compartments.
When the materials are separated, they are baled and then marketed to be sold to vendors across the country and internationally, Medico said.
“And participation in recycling will go up by 30 percent at least,” Medico said. “Residents can put their waste in one bag and recyclables in the other.”