The North Bend Eagle


Recycling program effetive but costly

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 1/28/15

Is North Bend’s recycling bin financially viable or just a “feel good” endeavor?
Well, it depends on who you ask.

“It’s a huge expense to the city,” city clerk Theresa Busse said. “It costs $120 each time it is emptied, two or three times a month.”

The large blue bin is located across the street from the intersection of Highway 30 and Locust Street.

Busse said it is used as a dump by some, with people taking their garbage there. Garden hoses, vacuum cleaners, an air conditioner and clothes have been found in the recycle dumpster. It used to require sorting by the users when items were brought to recycle. Now everything put in the dumpster is sorted later.

Busse emphasized that this is not a commercial bin, but for residential use only.
City maintenance man Larry Hilliard checks on the bin daily, and when it is close to full, he calls to have it picked up.

“People just have to be patient,” Busse said. “When it is full, it’s full. Do not place items on the ground around the bin.”

Al Sawtelle, the area manager for Waste Connections of Fremont, said the recycling items in the bin are taken to Fremont where they are bundled and sent to recycling centers in Omaha or Sioux City. There the bundles are opened and sorted. Plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum and glass are separated and recycled.

“A machine with a optical eye sorts the different colors of plastic,” Sawtelle said. “Magnets in the conveyor belt catch the metal.”

The items are re-baled by type and sold. These are sold to companies who reuse them to make lawn furniture, gypsum wall board liners, toilet and facial paper, refrigerators, fiber fill for jackets, and many more items.

“Recycling where it is mingled is not really a money maker,” Sawtelle said, “but it keeps (trash) out of the landfills.”

Cardboard is traded on the commodity exchange. It will have a different price according to how it is doing on the exchange. Sawtelle said it is now selling for $60 a ton, which is about what it costs to get it to manufacturers. Sometimes it gets up to $150 per ton. White paper is also on the commodity market. Sawtelle said it does not do as well as cardboard, but sometimes money can be made.
Glass is of no value, Sawtelle said.

“Sometimes it costs us to get rid of (glass),” he said. “Some companies will grind it and reuse it, but it is not a money maker for us.”

Newspapers are sold for insulation to a factory in Norfolk.

Aluminum has its own collection point in North Bend. A cage near the big recycling bin maintained by the North Bend Baseball Association accepts aluminum cans.

Sawtelle said he sees more people recycling, but growth is slow. Companies mainly do it to save the cost of disposing items. It costs $40 per ton to haul to a landfill.

The Karnatz family makes use of the city recycling dumpster. They recycle cardboard, plastic and glass.

“I think it is having some impact because there are a lot of products anymore that are made from recycled materials,” Brent Karnatz said. “There is still probably a ways to go to get everyone to recycle, but the Waste Connections recycling container is usually packed full every week. That’s less waste that is
going to a landfill.”

Households can get their own recycling bin through Waste Connections, S-2 or other garbage services. Sawtelle said it costs $7.50 a month to have the recycling bin at your home.

Morse Bluff residents Tom and Kathy Mensik started recycling with S-2 several months ago.

“They provide us with a tote and pick up every other week,” Kathy Mensik said. “We recycle cardboard, newspapers, magazines, tin, aluminum and plastic. I believe it is a good idea to keep those things out of the landfill.”

The North Bend Central National Honor Society has a recycling program at the high school.

“I arranged for the recycling dumpsters after I saw the tremendous amount of paper that got thrown away on the last day of school as the kids were cleaning out their lockers,” NHS sponsor Suzanne Kluthe said.

The NHS recycling program started in the spring of 2013. Recycling containers are placed in classrooms and emptied by NHS members with everything placed in the recycling dumpster in the back of the school, which is emptied every two weeks.

NBC sophomore Jacki Minarick and the Clover Kids 4-H Club received the Engler award of $500 for use in bettering the community from the Dodge County 4-H Council.

“A good way of keeping the community clean is through a recycling project,” Minarick said. “I figured it would be a good thing to use the money to purchase recycling products to put in the new gym.”

She is going to use part of the money to buy gummy worms or some sort of incentive to get people to bring bottles back to the concession stand recycling bin.

Recycling has been going on for some time at the elementary school. Custodian Gaylen Uhing gives credit to Rick Hobza for starting it. Uhling say they collect aluminum cans, plastic jugs, paper and cardboard. There is a special container in most of the classrooms or in a nearby public area.

“It takes quite a bit out of our garbage,” Uhling said. “We’d need two more dumpsters for trash if we didn’t recycle.”

Since 2001 the Knights of Columbus have been collecting newspapers from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. the second Sunday of the month. Money earned from the collection goes toward maintaining the nativity set they erect at Christmas.

There are also options for recycling more complicated items. The Loess Hills Resource Conservations and Development Council sets up collection points for tires, old computers, batteries and old engine oil.

“We only accept household quantities,” chairman of the Loess Hills RC&D Larry Bockelman said.

At different times through the year the RC&D holds collections for household hazards. There will be a story in the Eagle about when and where.
Keep Fremont Beautiful had inserts in the Eagle three times last year telling of household hazard collections.

Dave and Lois Otte live southwest of Morse Bluff and are recyclers.

“We recycle newspaper, tin, plastic, cardboard, magazines, glass and pop cans,” Dave said. “We also recycle tires, car batteries, old iron and used engine oil. We haul some of the stuff to North Bend, some of the things Lois hauls to my daughter‘s home where they have a recycle container and you can also do glass. I’m so happy that we have these different places to be able to recycle instead of having all of these things dumped on a pile out in our beautiful country. It’s very easy to help take care of our Lord’s world.”

Dorothy Mines will recycle all she can: newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic, cardboard and more. She takes advantage of the city’s bin and the Catholic church paper drive.

“I hope recycling has an impact,” Mines said. “It’s so easy. At least it helps prevent overflow of the landfill.”

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