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METRO TALK RECYLCING


Who is in charge of not only collecting, but also sorting


and repurposing all of that? Here’s what our own City of Spokane recycling guru has


to say about some of the tougher junk to recycle: “On the discussion list of commodities to divert are car-


pet, textiles/clothing; aseptic containers (e.g., coated paper milk cartons and juice boxes); Styrofoam; and local uses for glass. There are markets for these commodities, but they are not local. To make diversion economically viable means that the commodity has to have a high enough value to pay for the collection and transportation to the processor, or the cost of that collection and transportation has to be sub- sidized by the generator (that’s you and me).” Suzanne Tresko has the recycler’s family lineage. She


grew up in the ‘60s with parents saving nuts and bolts and reusing bags, foil and containers before “recycling” was in the American lexicon. Luckily, she was raised in a place where steel cans and aluminum could be recycled at the landfill. “My environmental conscience grew up during that era when [Rachel] Carson’s Silent Spring brought America’s environmental movement out of the woods and into our living rooms,” she says. Thankfully for Spokane, Tresko and Ann Murphy work


with local schools and community groups “to promote waste reduction and recycling, both as personal choices for the students and teachers, and assisting schools in setting up programs.” “Mind your ‘3Rs’” might be a subtitle Spokane’s new single-stream recycling program facility out on Geiger. It’s


50 SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


an impressive $18 million, 62,000-square-foot single-stream recycling operation on an eight-acre site right outside Spokane, opened in October 2012. Called the Spokane Materials & Recycling Technology


Center (SMaRT), it’s touted by its owner, Waste Management (WM), as a “centerpiece of a regional strategy aimed at dramatically reducing waste and boosting recy- cling in the region.” According to WM spokesperson Robin Freedman, “The


62,000-square-foot, ‘single-stream’ facility will allow resi- dents and businesses to recycle a broader assortment of materials, which will result in a more than 40 percent recy- cling rate in the Spokane area, exceeding the national aver- age. An economic impact study conducted by the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business estimated the facility would inject more than $46 million into the local economy over the next five years.”


Junk Sells Now, we have the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra in in the refuse reclamation business, professional


industry journals and garbage associations, such as the


Container Recycling Institute, Steel Recycling Institute, and Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers. A few years ago, I did a piece on Seattle’s Total Reclaim,


a business centered on e-waste – computers, printers, tele- vision and cell phones. Plastics and metal chassis are torn


schools, even in pre-kindergarten. There are entire indus- tries


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