Earth Day Fact: Recycling saves landfill space

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Earth Day is Sunday, and since this is the only planet we have we need to take care of it. One of the best and easiest ways to help the earth is to recycle.  

When it comes to recycling you probably need to start at the Legacy Landfill outside Jonesboro. All day long trucks roll in full and roll out empty.

Only a couple of things are recycled at the landfill. One is tires.

Robert Hendrix the Executive Director for waste management in the county showed me a bunch of tires that a large machine was putting into an open top semi trailer.

"The county receives the tires from all the tire dealers, from residents who bring in tires, any source of tires within the county. Hendrix said.

Over time, old tires have become a pretty hot property. Here in Jonesboro they used to cut the tires up and bury them. Now they are shipped out to a power plant that uses them for making electricity. Why?

Hendrix, "According to ADEQ and EPA numbers, the typical passenger tire per pound has a greater BTU value per hour than coal would."

These tires will soon be on their way to Mississippi to become kilowatts.

Electronics don't really break down in landfills plus there are some hazardous and valuable materials in electronic items. Those items, once collected are shipped out to a prison in Texarkana for disassembly.

Hendrix, "Components are pulled out. Other parts are just recycled, plastic and metal are recycled."

In 2011 the land fill shipped out 63 tons of E-cycling. And speaking of tonnage, were you aware that in 2011 more than 1.2 million pounds worth of material were collected county wide, in the blue recycling bags?

Nearly 608 tons were taken to Marck Industrial Recycling in Brookland. James Hafer, the General Manager says they get lots of blue bags each week.

"Closer to 18 thousand pounds a week is an average that we get on a weekly basis." Hafer said. We watched as a dumpster load of cardboard was quickly crushed and baled and loaded on a semi truck.

The city brings in the blue bags to several dumpsters at the facility. Once a week they are processed through the plant. This facility doesn't sort because they lack the space.

Hafer, "We bale them up and ship them to a sister plant of ours and they sort them there."

Over all, Hafer says, Craighead County does pretty good when it comes to recycling, however.

Hafer, "The more people get involved with it and get into it naturally the more we'll do."

If you take products to the land fill there are a couple of things you need to know.

Robert Hendrix says they will take anything with electrical components.

"You bring it into our customer service building and we just ask you to not throw it in the dumpster." Hendrix said. "If you'll place it by the dumpster our people will gather that up and bring it over this are where we load these into these boxes where they can be shipped a little easier."

Unless you have a truck load,those go right to the tire pad, tires also need to be stacked by the dumpsters so they can be hauled off.

For other landfill and recycling information be sure and click on the link with this story.

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