Monday, October 19, 1992

The Sounds of Recycling in Las Vegas - Silver State Disposal Provides Service

Amid the dinging and clanking of the slot machines and the shouts of joy and frustration of the millions of gamblers that visit Las Vegas each year, there are also the sounds of recycling.

In most of the big Las Vegas hotels, recycling programs have been established for steel and aluminum cans, glass and plastic containers, corrugated cardboard, newspapers and magazines. And for the residents of Las Vegas, a curbside program accepting the same materials services the entire Las Vegas area, including about 170,000 households. Silver State Disposal provides recycling services for both the residents and the hotels of Las Vegas. In the spring of 1991, the hauler opened its new material recovery facility (MRF) in North Las Vegas.

“When we were in the planning stages of designing the facility and developing the program, we never discussed including steel cans or purchasing a magnetic separator. It was a given,” said Steve Kalish, spokesperson for Silver State Disposal. “Steel cans are easy to do because of their magnetic qualities, and they’re simple to recycle because there are markets for recycling them.”

The curbside program is a three-basket system. Bimonthly, the same day as garbage pick-up, residents sort their recyclables into the three baskets. Corrugated cardboard is flattened and set next to the baskets.

In addition to the curbside program, a drop-off location at the MRF accepts large scrap metal along with the curbside items. Quarterly, household hazardous waste is collected, including paint and used car and motor oil.

“We’re trying to get the word out any way we can. Radio commercials, newspaper ads, billboards, you name it, we’ve done it. We even send out calendars annually to remind people of their recycling days,” said Kalish. “It’s important to keep sending the message and make the public want to participate. Because without them, it doesn’t happen.

At the MRF, the steel cans are magnetically separated and baled. They are then shipped to MRI/Proler’s detinning facility in Randolph, Arizona.

Thursday, September 24, 1992

Efforts of Employees Make Quaker Oats’ Recycling Program a Success

Quaker Oats Company has made a commitment to the environment and is especially concerned with issues surrounding solid waste management and recycling. In fact, the company has issued a corporate policy on solid waste disposal and environmental responsibility. But one thing the company has not done is mandate how each of its individual plants should develop recycling programs.

It has left that up to the employees themselves, and the employees have proven themselves committed to recycling. Jeff Habedank is a team leader at the Quaker Oats Pet Food plant in Topeka, Kansas. He is also a co-organizer of the plant’s recycling program.

The Topeka plant produces both canned and dry pet food products, including Cycle, Gravy Train, Kennel Ration, Puss’n Boots, and King Kuts. Approximately 270 people are employed at the plant.

It all started in the spring 1990, when Quaker Oats’ corporate office in Chicago hosted an environmental assurance workshop directed by Noah Horowitz, environmental assurance manager for Quaker Oaks. A group of employees from Topeka attended the workshop.

The end result was a new recycling program in Topeka.

“When we came back to the plant after the workshop, we realized anything we could do would reduce the amount of solid waste we were putting into the landfill,” said Habedank. “We wanted to get started recycling as soon as possible, so we didn’t spend a lot of time analyzing our trash at the beginning. We picked two or three big items and went after them.”

A group of employees formed a recycling committee and immediately went to work. The committee realized that empty steel cans that were damaged and could not be filled with pet food should be recycled. Steel cans were added to the program in the fall of 1990. A local recycler processes them and ships them to end markets. The committee also realized that a lot of cardboard was being thrown away, so they started a cardboard recycling program. The committee located markets for the material, purchased a baler, and started recycling the cardboard.

The committee found a hog farmer who uses pet food that does not meet Quaker Oats’ quality standards. Plastic lined dog food bags were added to the recycling list, and items like scraps left from paper labels are donated to schools, which find many uses for them. Other similar items are donated to a school supply store.

During special plant recycling days, employees bring recyclables from home to be recycled. The items collected include steel and aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, polystyrene, newspaper and cardboard. In addition, magazines are accepted once or twice a year. Habedank estimates that 25 to 30 percent of the employees participate.

“One thing that makes the recycling program work is that it’s not driven by one person. The plant people have organized it and made it go, and we also have the support of the Quaker Oats corporate office and our own plant management. Noah Horowitz, the environmental assurance manager in Chicago, has helped our plant a great deal, and Chiquita Cornelius, with Kansas Business and Industry Recycling, has been a tremendous asset,” said Habedank. “Through their support and the support of the plant employees, the program really works.”

Thursday, August 13, 1992

A New Addition to Simi Valley, California’s Curbside Program: Steel Paint Cans Paint Cans Called “Natural Extension” of Overall Recycling Efforts

Since November 1991, empty, dry steel paint cans have appeared in Simi Valley, California curbside containers, right along with other steel cans and a variety of other recyclables.

The reason for their inclusion is simple: they are recyclable and are being collected for recycling, along with steel and aluminum food and beverage cans, glass and plastic jars and bottles, polystyrene plastic, aluminum foil, chipboard, cardboard, brown paper bags, and newspaper.

The city’s commingled curbside program, implemented in April 1989, now includes all of the city’s single family households (totaling more than 26,000) and half of the city’s multifamily units (totaling more than 7,000). “We have developed our program to include more recyclable items. Collecting steel paint cans is a natural extension of this effort,: said Patrick Pieres, Solid Waste Programs Analyst for the city.

Residents are asked to place their empty, dry paint cans into one recycling container, along with the other recyclable items. The paint can lid must be removed and should also be placed in the container. Once a week, the same day as garbage pickup, the recyclable items are picked up either by G.I. Rubbish or Anderson Rubbish.

“The combination of material collected (almost 700 tons a month), the diverse types of materials, and the tremendous participation of the residents has made this program very successful,” said Pieres. “We also have two private haulers who have been very helpful in coordinating the recycling program and have been receptive to adding additional materials.

The two haulers, both located in Simi Valley, collect and sort the recyclables. The steel cans are taken to Simi Valley Recycling Company, where they are baled and shipped to MRI/Proler in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, July 29, 1992

Steel is Easiest Material to Recycle

The wide availability and low cost of scrap steel may be behind its odd status as the nation’s most reused material but still one often omitted from community recycling programs.

A campaign launched last week offers benefits to society and the environment if it accomplishes its goal of making consumers as aware of the value of old steel as they are of aluminum, paper, glass and plastic.

It really is inexcusable ever to put iron and steel into a landfill. They are endlessly reusable. The car you are driving today - or even that can of soup - may contain steel originally made into a steam locomotive in the 1800s. Since the early 1900s, no new steel has been manufactured without some old steel.

This metal in products such as automobiles, cans and appliances usually contains about 25 percent recycled matter, while in large items, such as beams and other structural components, it could be nearly 100 percent reprocessed. In 1990, U.S. companies melted down more cars than the Big Three made.

Despite the steel industry’s admirable efforts at recapturing its goods at an annual rate equaling 66 percent of national production, considerable improvement is possible. Witness the steel-recycling rate of about 90 percent in the Columbus and Akron areas.

These two cities capitalize on the attractive quality of iron and steel being easy to separate from trash. All it takes is a magnet to pull them away from pantyhose, aluminum foil, banana peels - anything at all that someone might throw away.

At the Columbus trash-burning power plant, magnets there last year retrieved 25,525 tons of steel and iron, saving taxpayers about $500,000 that they otherwise would have had to spend for disposal of these perfectly good materials. When separation of iron-based products is so simple, it is difficult to understand why they are usually the last elements added to curbside-recycling programs. Oftentimes, people have to take them to pickup locations.

As is true of all recycling, the more inconvenient, the less likely people are to participate. Consequently, the many steel food and beverage cans used each year represent a large, frequently untapped, resource.

In 1991, Ohioans did return about 40 percent of the more than 2 billion of these cans that they used. But the most recent (1990) figures showed a steel-can-recycling rate nationwide of just 24.6 percent, although this did represent a substantial (37 percent) increase over the previous year’s rate of only 17.0 percent.

Some people might not realize that what they call “tin cans” are actually steel, with just a thin coating of tin to protect the ingredients. These account of 90 percent of the canned food market and form a major target of the steel industry’s drive to achieve a recycling rate of 66 percent for its cans by 1995.

Ohio, as the nation’s second-largest steel producer, is a focal point of the effort to promote the removal of this metal from the waste stream. A statewide program that began in Columbus last week included the formation of the Ohio Steel Recycling Partnership, whose members are a variety of companies and programs involved with steel, food, containers and recycling. Similar campaigns are under way in Washington, D.C; Sacramento, California; Tallahassee, Fla.; and London, Ontario.

The message for Americans already diverting other materials from landfills is to get the steel out - too. You can do better.

Reprinted with permission of The Columbus Dispatch.

Sunday, February 9, 1992

Steel Cans and Other Household Items That Should Be Recycled

The Steel Recycling Institute wants to ensure that steel can recycling continues to grow. One way to increase awareness is to ensure that citizens and community leaders alike recognize what steel cans are and how they should be prepared for recycling. The following examples include only small steel products - common household items - that need no or little preparation for recycling - from the traditional can to steel waste baskets. Communities may elect to include these items in their recycling programs: the only preparation needed is for these items to be empty and rinsed.

Steel Food and Beverage Cans:

The most recognizable steel cans are found in the grocery or convenience stores.

Steel food cans are also called “tin” cans, and steel beverage cans are sometimes referred to as “bimetal” cans.


While tins are designed to be reused as decorative containers, they should be recycled when their usefulness is complete.

Some examples:

5 Gallon Cans, such as those that may contain popcorn, snacks or other food items.

Candy, cake and cookie tins that are especially popular around the holidays.

And other tins, such as those containing crackers, spirits, greeting cards, makeup and watercolors.

Other Steel Cans:

Adhesive strips, spices, throat lozenges, syrup, shoe polish, car and floor was are among the many other products found in steel cans. These cans, when empty, should also be recycled.

Cooking Tools:

A quick look around the kitchen shows that there are lots of steel products used as cooking tools. Funnels, cookie cutters, cheese graters, baking sheets and pans, sifters, and many other daily items. They can easily be recycled - most will fit in a curbside bin, and drop-off and multimaterial buyback centers should accommodate these items as well. No skillets, please!

Other Household Steel Items:

Whether in the home or office, steel items such as bookends, in/out baskets and trash cans are made of steel. Although they have a long life, they will eventually exceed their usefulness. They should be included in community and commercial recycling programs.

Thursday, January 30, 1992

Naval Submarine Base Bangor Provides Diverse Recycling Program

The Naval Submarine Base Bangor in Silverdale, Washington has developed a curbside, drop-off, and institutional recycling program that meet the needs of military and civilian personnel, retirees, dependents, and members of the community.

In June 1989, a drop-off facility was established for the approximately 40,000 people that have access to the base. Materials accepted include: steel and aluminum food and beverage cans, glass and plastic containers, newspapers, magazines, and corrugated cardboard.

A curbside program that includes all 800 housing units was implemented in November 1990. The same materials are accepted in three stackable bins, which are picked up once a week, the same day as garbage pick-up, and brought to the drop-off facility.

“The voluntary drop-off and curbside programs are very popular on base,” said Paul Ferguson, Recycling Manager. “Participation is high and , in fact, when many individuals are transferred to this base, one of the first things they do is inquire about the recycling program.”

An institutional program collects steel, glass, and plastic containers from the club facilities and galley. The materials are rinsed, separated, and brought to the drop-off facility. All of the recyclable materials are hauled away by Peninsula Recycling of Bremerton, Washington. The steel cans are shipped to Proler (MRI) in Seattle.

In 1989, the average monthly collection at the drop-off facility was 50,000 pounds; in November 1991, the total collection was 200,000 pounds. This spring, the base will begin building a mini materials recovery facility so that the recyclable materials can be densified before shipping them to Peninsula Recycling. In addition, the base was on of nine winners of
the EPA’s national municipal recycling awards.

Wednesday, January 8, 1992

Florida Steel Recycling Partnership - Key Recycling Programs Highlighted in Regional Promotion

This February, the SCRI and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) launched the Florida Steel Recycling Partnership in Tallahassee. The purpose of the Partnership is to educate a broad audience on the recyclability of steel and steel cans. Companies, organizations, and government officials who have an interest in steel recycling were invited to attend the kick-off briefing.

At the briefing, both the SCRI and the AISI praised the state of Florida for its recycling efforts, which have led to a 40% steel can recycling rate. In addition, recycling programs in several communities throughout Florida were highlighted:

Tallahassee - In January 1990, Tallahassee began its commingled curbside recycling program with weekly pick-up of steel and aluminum cans, glass containers, plastic beverage containers and newspaper. In April 1991, the city initiated recycling for multi-family dwellings. In total, approximately 51,000 residential units are now served by the program.

Leon County - The Leon County recycling program began in January 1990, with eight drop-off collection sites strategically located through the County. Since then, the program has expanded to 14 locations, servicing 63,000 residents. The program collects 160 tons of recyclables per month; this includes steel and aluminum cans, glass containers, plastic beverage containers and newspaper.

Gainsville - A joint city-county recycling program in Gainesville includes curbside, apartment, and institutional recycling. Every week, 36,000 households are serviced by a commingled program that includes steel and aluminum cans, plastic milk and soda jugs, glass bottles, and newspaper. Residents of 4,000 apartment units participate in a similar recycling program.

Dade County - Dade County, through the Metro-Dade Department of Solid Waste Management, conducts a curbside recycling program of approximately 260,000 households. This is a two-bin program, with one bin for newspaper and one for commingled steel and aluminum cans, all colors of glass containers, and HDPE and PET containers.

Jacksonville - In 1988, Jacksonville began recycling at the curbside. In June 1990, the commingled curbside program was expanded to include approximately 196,000 households. Materials collected include: steel, aluminum, glass and plastic containers, newspapers, catalogs, magazines and brown paper bags. In addition to the curbside program, the city has 11 drop-off sites.

Currently, the Partnership consists of steel industry representatives, steel can producers and users, solid waste management officials, and recycling organizations. Members of the Florida Partnership include: Clean Florida Commission, Florida Business & Industry Recycling Program, Keep Florida Beautiful, Inc., and the Retail Grocers Association of Florida.