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METRO TALK RECYLCING


“Depending on the flow of material, as many as 150 truck- loads per month could deliver recyclable material from out- side Spokane County.” This SMaRT center will be receiving recyclables from Idaho, Montana and Canada. If you end up going there, you will see 40 employees: loader and small equipment operators, sorters, line leads, baler operators, maintenance personnel, scale operators and other admin staff. “We are processing 20-plus tons of materials per hour,”


says Freedman.


I’ll Take an Extra Order of Fries with those Fries! If you like those 2 a.m. plates of French fries from the


Satellite Diner, you might rest more easily knowing where the used oil ends up. SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel out of Portland, Oregon, picks up used oil in the Spokane and sur- rounding areas every two weeks. Think 250,000 gallons a month in that Northwest SQP


Biodiesel collects and then puts through a flirtation process before it’s heated to remove any water molecules. Bam – biodiesel, B99 blend, out of the very goop that


gives us chimichangas and tater tots! The goal, according to SQP director of sales, Gavin Carpenter, is to double the 50,000 gallons of oil a month going to the Spokane depot, by the end of 2013. SQP currently collects each month. “We are targeting production of 5.8 million gallons this


year and we are working to continue to expand our feed- stock sources—more restaurants and food service provid- ers that would like their cooking processed into locally made biodiesel. We also offer grease trap services for res- taurants and we can process the oil in those traps to be used in our boilers at our plant—diverting from natural gas,” says Carpenter.


Closing the Loop: Start with Bags of Cans in a Shopping Cart


This network of informal recyclers is a worldwide pha-


lanx of folk looking to subsist on other people’s garbage. The 2009 movie, Garbage Dreams: Raised in the Trash Trade, shows us the largest garbage village in the world, right out- side Cairo. It’s the Zaballeen neighborhood (Arabic for “gar- bage people”) where youth as young as seven years old are part of an arm of 60,000 collecting and processing Cairo’s junk, recycling 80 percent of their take. That’s a remarkable rate that both Tresko and Freedman would admit is impres- sive, even with Spokane’s 40 percent recycling rate, which is higher than the national average. Scott Windsor, director of City of Spokane Solid Waste


Management, stated last year that he sees the convenience of a “single-stream” recycling system possibly increasing participation by 50 percent. That’s 67,000 customers within city limits. As a final cherry on top of the recycling cake – the City estimates it will earn about $400,000 more a year selling the materials as a result of the increase. “There is one more step beyond waste reduction, reuse


and recycling, and that’s closing the loop by asking for and buying goods made from recycled content, like recy- cled content paper, containers and building products,” says Tresko. “Recyclables are a commodity just like, say, wheat. But for the wheat farmer to make a living, someone has to buy the bread that her wheat is made into. The same goes for recycling commodities. For recycling programs to work, a manufacturer has to buy our recyclables, and then we have to buy the recycled-content product that the manufacturer makes. That’s closing the loop!”


Paul K. Haeder is a freelance writer who worked in Spokane as a com- munity college instructor and jour- nalist for over 10 years.


***The positions taken in “Metro Talk” columns do not always necessarily


reflect


the


views of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine’s publisher or staff.


54


SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


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