March 18, 2015-Full of Scrap


  • From The Director’s Chair:  Logistics and Planning
  • NRRA March Pricing Guide Now Available
  • 2015 NRRA Annual Conference-Save the Date and Award Nominations Wanted!!
  • Webinar Recording Link Now Available
  • School News You Can Use
  • New Hampshire the Beautiful
  • NH DES-Annual Facility Reports Due March 31st!
  • NH News-UVLSRPC Workshops Available
  • Vermont News-Recycling Strains Town Dumps
  • National News-Does Single Stream Recycling Really Work?
  • Classifieds
  • NRRA Calendar

Click HERE To View PDF


~Recycling Fact of the Day~

In 2010, Americans trashed enough paper to cover 26,700 football fields or 17,800 soccer fields in paper three feet deep.






Which Model fits your recycling trucking reality and what does it really cost to move materials to market? Full loads will ship at a premium rate, partial loads will return less, and rejected loads will pay a price for inferior quality. Transportation is an underlying cost in every transaction and NRRA has certainly seen a growing impact brought about by the “New Normal” of recycling values. Less revenue from the product on the pricing side will cause a rise in the cost of the hauling to market. Be prepared for ongoing haul rate adjustments as the logistical companies restructure their rates to adapt to the lower value of material.
telescopeWhen you call PLEASE -PLEASE -PLEASE plan ahead and also tell us who you are. As you are all well aware it always pays to “PLAN AHEAD”. Over the course of this harsh winter NRRA has been challenged to move material when the material was ready to go. Snow storms, truck break downs, and driver shortages, have all led to the reality of limited capacity on any given day and for any given week. If you have always called on Monday for a Wednesday pick up and it snows on Wednesday, there may not be another open slot for over a week. A recent example of this “snowball effect” was January 1, 2014. Midway Airport had to close due to a massive snowstorm. Arriving at 3pm from Manchester for a connecting 5pm flight out to LAX -nothing was moving. Airplane crews were grounded, planes on the flight line could not get to the gates, and it was a total shutdown. Everyone was in line trying to reschedule. Finally a rebooking was obtained for 1PM on the next day after being up all night in line. The scary part was that if we didn’t make it out at 1PM, our next available flight that was not full would be in 7 days! Your help in planning ahead will make the logistics much more efficient and everyone will benefit. If you know your material moves on average every two to three weeks then plan ahead, call early and give your Member Services Representative the time to get it properly scheduled so that you have the best chance to move on time.
old phonePlease do not leave a voice mail unless you tell us your name and facility. Member Services Staff have great hearing and can usually sort out who is calling just by listening to your voices, but a call from one of their accounts that says “Good Morning, just need my commingled and fiber moved this week! Have a nice day!”, may result in your material not moving at all because the rest of the week has filled up before we can track you down, especially when one of us is out sick for the day, which recently happened. Always leave us your Name and Facility please.


Signature required: NHDES Annual Facility Reports:

Env-Sw 1105.13(a) provides signature requirements. Publicly owned facility reports must be signed by the elected or appointed representative of the governing body. In a town, the governing body is the Board of Selectmen, for example. It is NOT the facility manager (unless that person also happens to be the elected official).



NRRA Monthly Pricing Guide

The NRRA Monthly Pricing Guide for March is now available!  Click HERE to view the password version OR if you’ve got a username and password for our Member’s Only Section of the Website, you can view it without the need for a password (Click on the “Members Only” tab at the top of the page).  If you’re having trouble viewing the guide, please contact Stacey at


Don’t Forget to Save the Date!!!

2015 NRRA Conference Announcement PicWe’ve got a fantastic line-up of interesting and informative workshops and speakers scheduled!  Stay tuned, our registration brochure is at the printers and scheduled to be sent out (both electronically and by mail) very soon!  You won’t want to miss this conference which will focus on finding real solutions to your very real challenges.

As always we will be holding an awards luncheon on Monday, June 9t at the conference.  Can you think of an individual, recycling program, brochure/website or volunteer in the world of recycling that deserves recognition?  These are some of the award categories to be considered:

  • Sami Izzo Recycler of the Year
  • Outstanding Recycling Program
  • Innovative Recycling Idea
  • Outstanding Recycling Brochure
  • Outstanding Recycling Website
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Outstanding Recycling Facility
  • Recycling Business of the Year
  • Most Programs through NRRA
  • Best Bill of Lading
  • Best Composting Program of the Year

For more information or nomination forms go to or contact Stacey at  The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2015!

If you’re interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at our conference this year, or know someone who is, Here is the link for Sponsors and Exhibitor Registrations.


It’s Not Just the Dump Anymore: A Webinar

On March 5th we successfully broadcast our first live webinar “It’s Not Just The Dump Anymore”.  Roughly 45 members logged in to participate in this event.  This webinar is very informative and provides a lot of useful information to many people serving in the waste management field.

If you missed the live webinar, we are happy to offer the recorded version to our members.  We also urge you to share this link with your Town officials as they may find this a helpful tool in understanding the challenges faced by today’s Transfer Stations and Recycling Centers.  Please follow the link below to view the webinar.  You will be asked to sign in with simply your name and email address, this information will help us track who views this material only.

Great News!  We can issue an NH DES Credit Certificate for viewing the recorded version of the webinar.  Please be sure to contact us at once you’ve watched the webinar so that we can send you a certificate!


 2014 Battery Recycling Totals

Image - call2recycleCall2Recycle 2014 Battery totals are in!  Do you want to see how your town/municipality did?   Please contact your Member Service Rep. for a report.



WANTED:  Your Award Nominations for the 6th Annual School Recycling Conference

This year’s Conference theme is “Real Challenges-Real Solutions.”  We have a challenge and we’re hoping you have a solution.

Does your school have an individual, program or event that deserves special recognition for outstanding work in recycling?  These are just some of the award categories to be considered:




















Choose one of the above, or come up with your own award idea!

Winners will be announced and recognized at our Conference Awards Luncheon on June 9.

Please follow this link to the nomination form.  Deadline for nominations is April 1, 2015.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION COMING SOON: Be sure to watch for conference registration details as well, you won’t want to miss this year’s fun filled School CLUB Conference!!


Discover WILD New Hampshire Day

Set for Saturday, April 18, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – You might be surrounded by mountains of snow, but spring is on the way, and so is Discover WILD New Hampshire Day. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s biggest community event of the year is set for Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Fish and Game Department at 11 Hazen Drive in Concord, N.H.

The event will be extra special this Wild NH Day picyear, as Fish and Game celebrates its 150th anniversary. New attractions for 2015 include an entire tent devoted to hunting and fishing exhibitors.
Discover WILD New Hampshire Day is a fun way for the whole family to explore New Hampshire’s wildlife resources and legacy of outdoor traditions. Come browse exhibits from environmental and conservation organizations throughout the state. See live animals, big fish and trained falcons. Try your hand at archery, casting, fly-tying and B-B gun shooting. Watch retriever dogs in action. Get creative with hands-on craft activities for the kids. N.H. Department of Environmental Services staff will be on hand to help you discover new trends in recycling, environmental protection and energy-efficient hybrid vehicles.
Discover WILD New Hampshire Day is hosted by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and sponsored in part by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, Fish and Game’s nonprofit partner ( Watch for more details about Discover WILD New Hampshire Day at

Discover WILD New Hampshire Day. Saturday, April 18, 2015. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. Fun family day features live animals, big fish, hands-on activities, exhibits by outdoor and environmental groups. Help Fish and Game celebrate 150 years conserving fish and wildlife. Free admission. Visit


Going Green at the Pond Hockey Tournament

We hope that some of you were able to attend and even participate in the 6th Annual New England Pond Hockey

Tournament held in Meredith, NH on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.  One of our astute members was able to put the CLUB’s Can Cage to good use.

Remember, the Can Cage is available to CLUB members at no cost as a fundraiser.

We have two Can Cages and they are generally loaned out for six months at a time, or for a big event.  Don’t hesitate to get on our waiting list.

For an application, go to: Can Cage Application


Earth Day 2015

Earth DayFrom EPA GoGreen Newsletter – March 2015


Earth Day is April 22. If you’re in school, check out these ideas you can use — whichever side of the desk you’re on.
• Teachers lesson plan ideas:
• Student homework resources:
• Community projects:





Grants Program for NH Municipalities

Do you need equipment for your facility?  All New Hampshire municipalities are eligible to apply for grants toward the purchase price of recycling equipment.  For more information or to apply for a grant, go to, print & fill out the form and fax it to 603-736-4402.  If you do not have access to the internet, please give us a call, and we can fax or mail a form to you.


Blue Bags Available Soon – Order Yours Now!

Blue Bag Picture
Once again NH the Beautiful will be providing blue bags to communities in NH free of charge.  Since 2007 a total of 565,650 bags have been donated for litter clean-up efforts in New Hampshire. If your community is organizing a litter clean-up day and you would like to take advantage of this program, please fill out the order form and return to the NRRA office.   Click here for the order form and more information.


NH the Beautiful Provides FREE Facility Signs

Bradford Thank You for Recycling SignAll NH municipalities are eligible to apply for FREE facility signs.  NHtB has been providing professional looking signs for NH municipalities since 1983.  Under the NHtB Sign Program, New Hampshire Municipalities are all eligible to apply for signs (60 points each fiscal year or until funds run out).  The NHtB fiscal year runs November 1-October 31.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Stacey at 603-736-4401 x.10. To maximize your points, you can also order “recycled” signs or overlays for existing signs!

For a complete list of sign options and to order signs, click here  Complete Sign Packet.  Simply print the forms you need, mail or fax them to 603-736-4402.

Please NOTE!!! You can only use points to order signs that are on the list.  Words can be removed, but nothing can be added.  Custom signs are available for purchase.  Contact the NRRA for details.


NHtB Also has Clear Stream Containers and 14-Gallon Recycling Bins for Sale at Discounted Prices 

Click the links below to find out how you can get yours!


Click here for ClearStream info.


Click here for Bin info.


Visit NH the Beautiful on Facebook and Twitter

facebook like To see all the latest that NH the Beautiful is doing for NH check out their Facebook Page! Click the following link –

 We are also on Twitter and Instagram

NH the Beautiful, Inc. (NHtB) is a private non-profit charitable trust founded in 1983 and supported by the soft drink, malt beverage, and grocery industries of New Hampshire. By offering municipal recycling grants (over $2.5 million) and signs, anti-litter programs, and technical assistance to recycling programs, NHtB is a unique organization that represents a voluntarily-funded alternative to expensive legislation intended to achieve the same end results.  NHtB supports the NRRA School Education Program (the Club).  The Northeast Resource Recovery Association ( administers the New Hampshire the Beautiful programs.




The NH DES Operator Certification Rules became effective July 1 and are linked HERE.  If you have any questions, contact either NRRA or NH DES directly.  To visit the link for the NH DES new Solid Waste Operator Applications and upcoming workshops visit:


NH DES Annual Facility Reports

Solid Waste Facilities are required by their permit and Env-Sw 1105.07(b) to submit an Annual Facility Report to DES by March 31 of each year. The purpose of this report is to enhance environmental compliance and to collect data for reports to the Legislature, including tracking progress in reaching the state’s 40 % landfill diversion goal. In addition, DES uses the information to determine where more regulatory oversight might be needed or which topics to include in operator training.

The DES forms request all the required information and allow compilation of the data. Please review the list and select the form that corresponds with your facility type. Using facility records, complete the form and submit it to: Solid Waste Compliance Assurance Section, NHDES, P.O. Box 95, Concord, NH 03302. For more information, contact staff at 271-2925 or

To View and Download the 2014 Annual Facility Report Forms, click HERE.


Continuing Professional Development for Certified Solid Waste Facility Operators

Certified solid waste facility operators must attend or participate in 2.5 hours of relevant continuing professional development each year to keep their certification current. This typically means attending at least one training event such as a workshop or conference. Operators must submit written confirmation of attendance with their renewal application for trainings not provided by DES. Credit will generally be given for continuing professional development that offers information about and increases awareness of environmental, waste management operations, and health or safety issues.

DES offers workshops to meet the 2.5 hour per year requirement of continuing professional development, but also accepts relevant training from other organizations. Please click HERE for some current training opportunities. DES updates their web page when new workshops are scheduled, so check back often to find new postings.



Regional Municipal Workshops Provided by Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Region Planning Commission(UVLSRPC)

The UVLSRPC has announced the following workshops which are open to all who wish to attend.  NHDES Credits are available for many of these workshops except for the Customer Service and the two School workshops.

Universal Waste Workshop – This will be a workshop provided by NH DES to teach best management practices for universal waste including antifreeze, batteries, cathode ray tubes (TV & computer screens), fluorescent lamps, mercury-containing devices such as thermostats.
When: April 23, 2015 – 9:00 AM – Noon
Where: Grantham Town Offices, 300 NH Route 10, Grantham, NH
Register: at or contact Vickie Davis at 448-1680 or

Municipal Composting with Food Scraps – This workshop will be provided by Mark Hutchinson of the Maine Compost School. Mark will discuss how to make a successful composting program and we will visit a County compost site. Doug Kemp from NH DES will provide an update of NH regulations related to composting with food scraps.
When: May 7, 2015 – 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: Sullivan County Complex, Ahern Building, 5 Nursing Home Drive, Unity, NH
Register: contact Vickie Davis at 448-1680 or

Household Hazardous Waste Coordinator Workshop – This workshop will address hazardous waste identification skills, highly reactive and unstable chemicals, handling high hazard wastes, how to deal with highly hazardous materials at an event, State laws and regulations affecting collections. Expert speakers including Dave Waddell of King County, WA; Trooper Jeffrey Dade of the NH Explosive Disposal Unit; and NH DES representatives invited.
When: May 26, 2015 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: NH Municipal Association, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord, NH
Register: contact Vickie Davis at 448-1680 or
Fee: $35 includes breakfast, lunch, and workshop materials

School Chemistry Lab Science & Safety – This is a workshop for middle and high school science faculty, administrators, and facility operations managers. Dave Waddell of King County, WA will provide training on laboratory safety, chemical hazards and management, correcting unsafe situations, and tips for getting started on a Chemical Management and Safety Plan.
When: May 28, 2015 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: River Valley Community College, 1 College Place (just off Rt. 120), Claremont, NH
Register: at or contact Vickie Davis at 603-448-1680 or
Fee: $35 includes breakfast, lunch, and workshop materials

Art Teacher & Artist Chemical Safety Training – Dave Waddell of King County, WA will provide an introduction to toxicology and then address common chemicals of concern in the arts; safer alternatives; protecting the health and safety of artist, teacher, and students; and discipline-specific issues.
When: May 29, 2015 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: River Valley Community College, 1 College Place (just off Rt. 120), Claremont, NH
Register: at or contact Vickie Davis at 603-448-1680 or
Fee: $35 includes breakfast, lunch, and workshop materials

Transfer Station Safety Workshop – Training to be provided by the Scott Lawson Group. Topics will include operator protective equipment, public access and safety, hazard communication, waste handling, introduction to OSHA standards, equipment operation, blood borne pathogens, identification of hazardous waste and proper segregation and storage, flammables, and fire safety.
When: June 4, 2015 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Town of Sunapee Safety Services Bldg, 9 Sargent Rd (just off Rt. 11), Sunapee, NH Register: contact Vickie Davis at 448-1680 or
Fee: $35 includes breakfast, lunch, and workshop materials

Customer Service Skills – This workshop is applicable to all municipal workers though transfer station attendants were in mind when coordinating this workshop. “Have you noticed that customers are less patient and more demanding than in the past? Whether it is the aging baby-boomers who expect high quality service or our technologically-driven ‘on demand’ society, many organizations are exploring ways to enhance customer service. Serving the public is a challenging job that requires effective listening, problem solving, conflict resolution, communication, and interpersonal skills. This workshop will review the basics and introduce some of the newest concepts and tools being used to improve customer service.” The trainer will be from the NH Bureau of Education and Training.
When: August 20, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Grantham Town Offices, 300 NH Route 10, Grantham, NH
Register: contact Vickie Davis at 448-1680 or



Recycling Strains Town Dumps
Officials Ask for Residents’ Patience

Valley News, Maggie Cassidy

Thetford Recycling

Brian Lombardo, of Thetford, Vt., adds material to the “Anything That Rips” bin at the Thetford Recycling Center on March 14, 2015. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck)

Thetford — The good news is that residents want to recycle, steadily increasing the amount of recyclable material coming into Thetford’s transfer station over the past three years.
The bad news is that a number of factors, including increased demand on recycling resources and a decrease in value for raw recyclable material, appears to be straining systems in the region, including Thetford’s.
“It’s sort of ongoing growing pains that everybody in the state is experiencing,” said Thetford recycling coordinator Diana Kimball-Anderson, who has worked or volunteered with town recycling for the past seven years.
A staff shortage and difficulty in getting haulers to empty the bins on time has forced Kimball-Anderson to cancel the Saturday morning recycling program at the transfer station three times this school year, she said, and recycling has closed early several other times when the bins filled up too quickly.
Residents look to the email Listservs each week to see whether recycling will go on as scheduled.
But while Thetford has faced these challenges earlier than some of its neighbors, the rest of the region may be catching up, and Vermont towns in particular are paying attention to how phased-in recycling legislation will affect their setups.
According to Michael Durfor, the leader of a nonprofit that coordinates waste haulers for 400 New England municipalities, the broader recycling challenges are not unique to Thetford — or even to New England — and in his opinion, the root cause stretches to the other side of the world.
“The markets themselves are in a very volatile state, so everybody’s having to re-examine what makes sense, what’s cost effective and what’s sustainable,” said Durfor, executive director of the Northeast Regional Recovery Association, whose municipal clients include Thetford and many other Upper Valley towns. “It’s tied to the global marketplace.”
Durfor said that while China is a “big buyer of recyclables,” the market there for recyclables is constricting more rapidly than many in the industry had expected. That leads to recyclables being sold for less in the domestic markets, where there’s not as much competition.
Once those markets fill up, domestic buyers are “not going to take (recyclables).”
At home, that means that haulers’ costs are remaining roughly the same, while the value of the recyclables is going down. One of NRRA’s roles is to act like a dispatcher to coordinate private haulers to cart away towns’ waste, and a hauler from the Boston area has typically been assigned to several towns in the Upper Valley.
But while Durfor said discussions continue between NRRA and all of its haulers, the concern among some towns is that long round trips are becoming less and less attractive for haulers. They worry that NRRA would be hard-pressed to find viable alternatives.
Dori Wolfe, of Strafford’s recycling committee, said that town officials are waiting to hear back from their account representative at NRRA with bated breath.
“Right now, we’re at her whim and mercy,” Wolfe said.
The town — which recently saw the retirement of its longtime recycling leader, Steve Willbanks — has already been told that reimbursements for recycling materials are expected to drop and that fees are expected to increase, but with negotiations in flux, officials don’t yet have the final numbers.
The committee is “waiting for the final shoe to drop,” she said.
West Fairlee Selectboard Chairwoman Delsie Hoyt, whose town also uses haulers coordinated by NRRA, said that some minor “slippage” in the schedule for when haulers are supposed to clear out bins has been manageable. So far, she said, it hasn’t caused a shutdown of the town’s recycling hours.
However, Hoyt said she’s concerned about the potential unintended implications of Vermont’s Act 148, waste management legislation that started phasing in last summer. Starting in July, all trash haulers will be required to haul recycling at no charge, although they could offset the costs by charging more for trash hauling.
“The market is just flooded with recycled goods, and it’s supply and demand,” Hoyt said. “There’s a big supply and the demand hasn’t increased.”
“I don’t know that anybody at the state level is really putting the lens on this to see how this all shakes out in terms of real expense,” she added later. “So recycling is ‘free,’ but it’s not. It’s very expensive.”
Not all towns face the same struggles. In Fairlee, Selectboard Chairman Frank J. Barrett Jr. said that the town’s current recycling setup, in which the town contracts with an Orford company for a flat annual fee, is “as painless … as can be” for town officials.
Residents can take their recycling to the transfer station just south of the village center, where it is handled by Quinttown Container Services, which also deals with some trash.
The trade-off is that the town doesn’t offset any of its costs through recyclables, but it doesn’t lose out when the markets are suffering, either.
“Whatever money he gets out of the recycling, that’s his business,” Barrett said of the Quinttown operator. “If aluminum’s doing well, that’s fine, and if not, that’s his problem as well.”
Sharon, meanwhile, does not have a recycling station — residents can use private haulers or bring their recyclables to Hartford — but Selectman Paul Haskell said he expects the discussion around recycling will ramp up this year.
“It’s something we will probably want to talk about this year in light of the new laws about recycling, whether we have a way to make recycling work,” Haskell said.
Wolfe, of Strafford, said she has “pie in the sky” hopes of a facility closer to home that could take raw recyclables and increase their worth. For example, transporting plastic bottles is essentially “transporting air” because there’s so little material, but a facility that could condense the bottles into bricks of plastic could increase the material’s viability.
Durfor said the plan may be more plausible than Wolfe had suggested.
“I don’t think its very ‘pie in the sky’ at all, because that’s exactly what they’re doing in Central Vermont right now. … In terms of one there in the Upper Valley, it would be an excellent location for one,” he said.
Durfor said that while it won’t be in the near future or at previous levels, he expects the markets will normalize, and he hopes towns and taxpayers don’t give up on recycling before then.
“The biggest thing is just patience,” he said, “and not to give up on a recycling program that’s been successful over the years when they stub their toe.



Does single-stream recycling really work? Yes! And no

By Veronique LaCapra,

If you recycle at home, chances are you take advantage of a system called “single-stream” recycling: you mix all your bottles, newspapers, cans and containers together in a roll cart or dumpster, and a truck comes by once a week to pick them up.

But what happens next? Is that jumble of broken glass, paper, metal and plastic really getting recycled?

The short answer is … mostly, yes. But the system is far from perfect, and some of what could have been recycled ends up in a landfill.

I followed the trail of single-stream recycling in St. Louis. Here’s some of what I found out.

Resource Management sales manager Gary Gilliam stands in front of a pile of residential single-stream recycling at his company's MRF in Earth City.

Resource Management sales manager Gary Gilliam stands in front of a pile of residential single-stream recycling at his company’s MRF in Earth City. Inside, machines will do most of the work to separate out the paper, glass and containers.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

What can be recycled through the single-stream process?

  • Probably more than you think!
  • But it varies depending on where you live. In general you can recycle paper and cardboard; glass bottles and jars; aluminum packaging; steel cans; aseptic containers (like juice boxes); and plastic containers (except Styrofoam). St. Louis County can take hard #6 plastic packaging. St. Louis City cannot.
  • There are some other differences, so it’s a good idea to check your municipality’s website for dos and don’ts.

How does single-stream recycling work?

In St. Louis City, the same trucks that pick up garbage also pick up single-stream recycling. Driver Clarence James "Smiley" Thomas, Jr. has been driving the city's trucks for eight years.

In St. Louis City, the same trucks that pick up garbage also pick up single-stream recycling. Driver Clarence James “Smiley” Thomas, Jr. has been driving the city’s trucks for eight years.
Credit Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio
  • The details of the single-stream process vary by location.
  • In St. Louis City, the same trucks that pick up garbage come by once a week to collect single-stream recycling from roll carts and alley dumpsters. The trucks dump their loads at one of two transfer stations. From there, 18-wheel trucks take the recycling to a Materials Recovery Facility or “MRF” (it rhymes with “smurf”). The city uses a MRF in Earth City owned by a company called Resource Management.
  • In St. Louis County, recycling collection is handled either by private haulers or by individual municipalities. Some of the county’s single-stream ends up at Resource Management’s MRF, but most of it goes to a different MRF in Hazelwood, owned by Republic Services.

Does everyone in the St. Louis area have access to single-stream recycling?

  • If you live in the city of St. Louis, you should either have a single-stream roll cart or alley dumpster, even if you live in a multi-family apartment building.
  • In St. Louis County, only trash haulers serving one- or two-family residences are required to provide single-stream recycling service.

What is a MRF and what happens there?

Stacked bales of newspaper await shipping to China or other overseas markets at Republic Services' MRF in Hazelwood.

Stacked bales of newspaper await shipping to China or other overseas markets at Republic Services’ MRF in Hazelwood.
Credit Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio
  • Single-stream recycling has become economically viable for two reasons: volume and technology. A typical MRF can process hundreds of tons of recycling in a single day and it runs 24/7. MRFs rely on machines to do most of the sorting.
  • At both of the MRFs I visited, a multi-story network of conveyor belts transports the mixed recycling from the “tip floor,” where it has been dumped by trucks, to a series of huge machines. The machines use vibrating screens, spinning disks and gravity to separate the paper from the glass and containers.
  • At Republic Services’ MRF in Hazelwood, a machine with a magnetic belt captures steel, and another machine uses spinning magnets to create an “eddy current” to repel aluminum. Different kinds of plastics are separated by optical sorting machines. Republic’s recycling general manager Brent Batliner compares the optical sorter to a grocery store scanner. “It’s got infrared scanners that, as material passes underneath, it will read the chemical make-up of the bottle,” Batliner said.
  • Resource Management transports glass and containers from St. Louis to its main MRF in Chicago, where they undergo a similar mechanized sorting process. There, optical sorters are also used to separate different colors of glass.


Is everything at a MRF done by machine?

  • No. Workers are still needed to pull trash off the conveyor belts, or to reroute any recyclables that have ended up in the wrong place. They also keep an eye on the machines to watch for any problems.


What causes the biggest problems for a MRF?

  • Anything that can get stuck or wrapped around the plant’s machinery, like plastic sheeting, wires, videotape, chains or cables. Resource Management’s Gary Gilliam said one time, somebody put a hammock in with their recycling and it got wrapped around the works of one of the MRF’s machines. “It was nylon,” Gilliam said. “It heated and made a block of nylon. You couldn’t cut it. It took us hours to fix that.”
  • Moisture. Wet paper gets stuck to other recyclables or to the machines and doesn’t make it through the sorting process. MRF workers will try to pull wet paper out of the recycling line, but it usually ends up at a landfill. Moisture is a particular problem in the parts of St. Louis City that use alley dumpsters for single-stream recycling, since they can’t be closed to keep rain or snow from getting inside.
  • Shredded paper. If it’s loose, it can contaminate broken glass and often won’t get recycled. It’s best to put residential shredded paper in a sealed bag so that workers can retrieve it off a conveyor belt.
  • MRFs can handle some contamination. You DO NOT need to remove lids from containers or wash them. As long as they’re empty, that’s good enough. Food and other wet waste can contaminate paper, however, if there’s too much of it.
Wet paper cannot easily be recycled in the single-stream process, so it's best to keep the lids on roll carts closed and avoid putting recycling in open city dumpsters during wet weather.

Wet paper cannot easily be recycled in the single-stream process, so it’s best to keep the lids on roll carts closed and avoid putting recycling in open city dumpsters during wet weather.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Where do residential single-stream recyclables end up?

  • Newspaper (an umbrella term for any paper coming out of residential households) is baled and shipped to China, Vietnam or other developing-country markets.
  • Everything else coming out of St. Louis-area MRFs stays in this country. Aluminum and steel get melted down and reused. The cleanest glass is turned back into bottles and jars; the rest may end up as fiberglass. Recycled plastic can be used in everything from carpeting to paint buckets — but it won’t end up in your water bottle or any other food-grade packaging.
A truck carrying a load of commercial single-stream recycling weighs in at Resource Management's MRF in Earth City. Unlike residential single-stream, which is mostly comprised of newspapers and containers, commercial single-stream is about half cardboard.

A truck carrying a load of commercial single-stream recycling weighs in at Resource Management’s MRF in Earth City. Unlike residential single-stream, which is mostly comprised of newspapers and containers, commercial single-stream is about half cardboard.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Besides single-stream, what other residential recycling options are out there?

  • Dual-stream recycling. It’s basically the same as single-stream, but paper is kept separate from everything else (see, for example, Emmet County’s program in Michigan). Dual-stream reduces cross-contamination between paper and glass and doesn’t need special trucks for pick-up — although it does require a little more effort on the part of residential recyclers.
  • Beverage container deposit laws, or “bottle bills.” These are mandated by states or municipalities. Retailers pay a deposit to beverage distributors for each container purchased. Consumers pay the deposit to the retailer when buying the beverage and get a refund when they return the empty container.
  • Source separation. That’s the waste management industry’s term of art for recyclables that are already separated before they get to the recycling plant. As a curbside recycling strategy, source separation has not proved economically viable, in part because it requires haulers to invest in trucks with individual compartments, it demands a lot more time and physical labor on the part of the workers picking up the recycling, and too few residences participate.
On average, about 8 percent of what comes into Resource Management's MRF as "single-stream" is actually trash or too contaminated to recycle.

On average, about 8 percent of what comes into Resource Management’s MRF as “single-stream” is actually trash or too contaminated to recycle.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

So what’s the bottom line — how well is single-stream recycling really working?

On average, about 8 to 10 percent of the residential single stream recycling that comes into a MRF ends up at a landfill.

But according to Susan Collins, the president of the Container Recycling Institute, a non-profit research and advocacy group, the total loss is closer to 25 percent, because materials leaving the MRF are still contaminated. The companies that buy them have to clean them up before they can be reused, and a lot of what could have been recycled gets lost along the way.

“In terms of preserving the quality of materials so the maximum materials collected can actually be recycled, single-stream is one of the worst options.” –Susan Collins, Container Recycling Institute

Glass — which should be 100 percent recyclable — fares particularly badly in the single-stream process. Bottles and jars end up crushed and contaminated with everything from pieces of ceramics to chicken bones. Collins estimates that only about 60 percent of the “glass” coming out of a MRF can be salvaged and reused.

“In terms of preserving the quality of materials so the maximum materials collected can actually be recycled, single-stream is one of the worst options,” Collins said.

Still, single-stream has increased residential recycling in the St. Louis area, although participation varies widely by municipality.

On average, Republic Services’ Brent Batliner said about 20 to 30 percent of St. Louis County’s residential waste is being diverted from the landfill. “But you can go into some areas where you’re up to 50, 60 percent, for that particular neighborhood,” Batliner said. “And you go into other areas where you may be as low as 5 or 10 percent.”

In the city, the diversion rate has plateaued at about 10 percent for the past two years.

Republic Services has recycling plants in approximately 70 cities nationwide. Overall, Batliner said, the St. Louis region is “middle of the road” in terms of its success in keeping residential waste out of the landfill using single-stream recycling.



Help Wanted

Permanent Part-Time Transfer Station Attendants

The town of Thornton is seeking candidates for immediate openings for two (2) permanent part-time positions of Transfer Station Attendant.  Applicants should have a minimum of 5 years experience or a Class III State DES license.  Applicants must work well with the public and have experience operating a backhoe.  The positions are labor grade 2 with an hourly pay range from $10.59/hr to $14.96/hr.  The goal of the Selectmen is to hire two part-time positions but may give consideration to hiring one full-time position.  A full job description and application packet is available at the Town Office and on the town website:

Applications may be submitted to:

Board of Selectmen
ATTN: Permanent Part-Time Transfer Station Attendent
16 Merrill Access Rd.
Thornton, NH  03285

The Town of Thornton is an equal Opportunity employer.  The position will remain open until filled.


For Sale

For Sale BalerIPS Model AT965HS100 Auto Tie Baler
One (1) IPS Model AT965HS100 Auto Tie Baler, 100 HP power unit, built in January 2001. The baler will need to be removed from the facility. Asking Price is $65,000.00. More Pictures are available upon request.  Contact NRRA if interested or if you would like more information.  (


Gaylord Boxes – thru NRRA’s Cooperative Purchasing Program
Gaylords (Corrugated) available for pickup thru NRRA in Wolfeboro NH.
Please contact Marilyn, Mike or Bonnie at 1-800-223-0150





  • April 1st: Deadline for Conference Award Nominations

  • April 8th: M.O.M Meeting- 9:00 a.m. at the NRRA Office

  • April 22nd: Earth Day


  • May 13th: M.O.M Meeting- 9:00 a.m. at the NRRA Office

  • May 13th: NRRA Board Meeting-10:30 a.m. at the NRRA Office

  • May 13th: End of Special Value Package Pricing for 2015 Conference

  • May 25th: Memorial Day-NRRA Offices Closed

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