Posted 7:08 AM 9/12/2012 : Trash Talk: Tucson hoping new reycling facility brings in more cash
TUCSON- Next time you throw that plastic bottle or old newspaper into the recycling bin, you won't just be helping the environment.
Last year the City of Tucson made close to $2-million by selling its recycled materials. Now city leaders hope a new high tech recycling center will bring in even more cash.
The 56,000 square-foot facility near Ajo and Alvernon is where the city will be bringing all of its recycled materials for the next 15 years. "All plastics, aluminum, cardboard, paper, you name it," says Tucson Environmental Manager Fran LaSala.
Built with private funds, the facility has all sorts of high tech machinery that makes it easier to process items from your blue bin. "The one I like most is called an optical sorter," LaSala says. "It will recognize plastic bottles on the line and take a picture of them, identify them, then sort them to the right containers."
Over the course of the next year the facility will process about 40,000 tons of recyclables and the faster, the better.
Once everything is processed, a company called ReCommunity Recycling sells the materials, then splits the profit with the City of Tucson. In 2011 Tucson made $1.8 million. "The buyers are taking these materials and making them into new products," says William Herzog of ReCommunity Recycling. "So we're selling newspapers to paper processors who run paper mills to make new products, etc."
LaSala says this year they expect to be able to sell 95% of the items brought to the facility.
Plastic bags and needles should not be put in your blue bin.
For more information you can check out the city's recycling Facebook page: "Do More Blue Tucson".
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