Recycling in America: Becoming Less Viable For Cities

  • You are viewing Orangepower as a Guest. To start new threads, reply to posts, or participate in polls or contests - you must register. Registration is free and easy. Click Here to register.
Sep 6, 2012
1,702
814
743
Edmond
#7
Having been in this industry for the last 20 plus years. Recycling has always been tough. For one look at the disposal cost SAS opposed to, recycle costs. Landfill rates in OK are 18 to 25 per ton. Recycle costs (when I ran a facility 5 years ago) where about $50 per ton. Even back then we had a difficult time selling plastics. You could sell HDPE at the time but started to become difficult to sell as well. White paper has a market but it has fallen as well.

The plastic water bottle is the biggest offender. I feel sorry for all these MURFS (MRF) , lots of expense very little return. It used to be competitive on the coasts where landfill costs were higher. From what I have been told lately from some old ex corporate co workers. The difference is not as significant now.
 

osupsycho

Sheriff
A/V Subscriber
Apr 20, 2005
3,811
2,374
1,743
Valhalla
#9
Humm maybe this is something that should really be considered by the government instead of the stupidly impossible green new deal.
 

Donnyboy

Lettin' the high times carry the low....
A/V Subscriber
Oct 31, 2005
22,602
21,511
1,743
#11
The takeaway here needs to be much of it wasn't "recycled". We just paid a bundle to have it burned or buried somewhere else.
 
Nov 6, 2010
535
237
593
#12
Having been in this industry for the last 20 plus years. Recycling has always been tough. For one look at the disposal cost SAS opposed to, recycle costs. Landfill rates in OK are 18 to 25 per ton. Recycle costs (when I ran a facility 5 years ago) where about $50 per ton. Even back then we had a difficult time selling plastics. You could sell HDPE at the time but started to become difficult to sell as well. White paper has a market but it has fallen as well.

The plastic water bottle is the biggest offender. I feel sorry for all these MURFS (MRF) , lots of expense very little return. It used to be competitive on the coasts where landfill costs were higher. From what I have been told lately from some old ex corporate co workers. The difference is not as significant now.
It's going to be a big problem. I think the only answer will be to move away from plastics at some point via legislation, but good luck with that. I do my best to never buy plastic water bottles. I've got a few aluminum ones I keep and fill up to put in my ice chest, but I still succumb to the convenience at times.
 
Sep 6, 2012
1,702
814
743
Edmond
#13
Humm maybe this is something that should really be considered by the government instead of the stupidly impossible green new deal.
The goverment does run LEED program for the USGBC. That's the problem it is all fake numbers. I know of a LEED platinum job that didn't even come close to hitting the recycle numbers and reuse numbers. The waste company took it to a place that said it was recycling and never did. It all ended up going to the landfill. The building got certified , the waste company said it was in the process of recycling. Never happened! Exhorbanant fees were paid to the recycle companies, the state was left to clean it up. There is still a shingle pile off of eastern.

https://new.usgbc.org/leed


https://kfor.com/2016/10/20/mountain-of-shingles-clogs-lot-after-illegal-dump/
 
Last edited:

llcoolw

Territorial Marshal
Feb 7, 2005
5,469
3,149
1,743
Sammamish, Washington.Dallas, Texas.Maui, Hawaii
#14
It's going to be a big problem. I think the only answer will be to move away from plastics at some point via legislation, but good luck with that. I do my best to never buy plastic water bottles. I've got a few aluminum ones I keep and fill up to put in my ice chest, but I still succumb to the convenience at times.
Best way to stock up on water too.
 

OSU79

Federal Marshal
A/V Subscriber
Oct 22, 2009
10,503
10,555
743
Back home in God's (Green) Country
#15
Having been in this industry for the last 20 plus years. Recycling has always been tough. For one look at the disposal cost SAS opposed to, recycle costs. Landfill rates in OK are 18 to 25 per ton. Recycle costs (when I ran a facility 5 years ago) where about $50 per ton. Even back then we had a difficult time selling plastics. You could sell HDPE at the time but started to become difficult to sell as well. White paper has a market but it has fallen as well.

The plastic water bottle is the biggest offender. I feel sorry for all these MURFS (MRF) , lots of expense very little return. It used to be competitive on the coasts where landfill costs were higher. From what I have been told lately from some old ex corporate co workers. The difference is not as significant now.
I worked for several years at Phillips Plastics Recycling Co. in Tulsa, owned by Phillips Petroleum. We bought HDPE bottles from coast to coast and still had trouble getting enough to run full speed all the time. To explain the scale of the issue to local civic groups, etc., I did the math: if we had been able to get every milk jug used in Tulsa for a year (@ 2 gal/week, 3.5 people/household) it would have been enough to run our plant for 48 hours. The funny thing about this, I pointed out, is that the City of Tulsa at the time operated a trash-to-energy plant (incinerator) and wouldn't accept HDPE for curbside recycling because they needed the Btu value of the HDPE to run that plant more efficiently. Eventually, after 5-6 years, Phillips' shut the plant down because the cost of materials and shipping it to Tulsa from all over the US was much higher than virgin HDPE and processors/consumers would not pay more for recycle content in their packaging. Naturally, everyone "supports" recycling, but they don't want to pay extra for it.
 

CocoCincinnati

Federal Marshal
Feb 7, 2007
16,362
23,782
1,743
Tulsa, OK
#16
In the city of Tulsa, I'm required to have a trash can and recycling can, and they charge me for both whether I use them or not. Which is at least better than some cities where they fine you if you don't
 

Rack

Federal Marshal
Oct 13, 2004
18,840
8,530
1,743
Earth
#17
Having been in this industry for the last 20 plus years. Recycling has always been tough. For one look at the disposal cost SAS opposed to, recycle costs. Landfill rates in OK are 18 to 25 per ton. Recycle costs (when I ran a facility 5 years ago) where about $50 per ton. Even back then we had a difficult time selling plastics. You could sell HDPE at the time but started to become difficult to sell as well. White paper has a market but it has fallen as well.

The plastic water bottle is the biggest offender. I feel sorry for all these MURFS (MRF) , lots of expense very little return. It used to be competitive on the coasts where landfill costs were higher. From what I have been told lately from some old ex corporate co workers. The difference is not as significant now.
Coolfogg - As someone with knowledge of this, can you tell us why the trash to energy plant shut down and why it's not being used anymore. I always thought this was a great way to get energy out of a product that we just viewed as waste. Why did it end, and is it viable for other communities and our own again in the future?
 
Sep 6, 2012
1,702
814
743
Edmond
#18
Coolfogg - As someone with knowledge of this, can you tell us why the trash to energy plant shut down and why it's not being used anymore. I always thought this was a great way to get energy out of a product that we just viewed as waste. Why did it end, and is it viable for other communities and our own again in the future?
It is still open and owned and ran by Covanta. The trash to energy didnt work well as it creates steam for sunoco. The cost to build , maintain, and manage was enormous. Plus the fact the city had people with their hands out. I'm looking at you TARE board. I actually have 4 loads a year that goes there from okc for the state.

Edit: the energy part was/is so negligible that energy created and the cost, has not seen a roi yet. Most likely it will not ever. Was a sold as as benefit to make people feel good. 2 landfills in Tulsa installed waste to energy facilities. Like I said earlier waste management in Austin created a methane to diesel program. I have not heard a word about that program since I left Wm 6 years ago.

Basically people do not want to pay to recycle. Recycling is expensive and always has been.
 
Last edited:
Sep 6, 2012
1,702
814
743
Edmond
#19
I worked for several years at Phillips Plastics Recycling Co. in Tulsa, owned by Phillips Petroleum. We bought HDPE bottles from coast to coast and still had trouble getting enough to run full speed all the time. To explain the scale of the issue to local civic groups, etc., I did the math: if we had been able to get every milk jug used in Tulsa for a year (@ 2 gal/week, 3.5 people/household) it would have been enough to run our plant for 48 hours. The funny thing about this, I pointed out, is that the City of Tulsa at the time operated a trash-to-energy plant (incinerator) and wouldn't accept HDPE for curbside recycling because they needed the Btu value of the HDPE to run that plant more efficiently. Eventually, after 5-6 years, Phillips' shut the plant down because the cost of materials and shipping it to Tulsa from all over the US was much higher than virgin HDPE and processors/consumers would not pay more for recycle content in their packaging. Naturally, everyone "supports" recycling, but they don't want to pay extra for it.
This is so true. Having run 2 states for a fortune company. We tried to recycle everything. We even developed red diesel. The costs were just not viable. Heck I just sold a company the ground shingles to make ras recycled asphalt shingles. Back in 2011 the dot and deq pushed for ras in the asphalt mix at 3% Guess what? State of ok never approved a ras mix. It was going to go when oil prices were so high. Oil dropped, no one wanted to use ras vs virgin. We had to grind in every surrounding state.

A recycle plant that I ran collected hdpe for you guys. It got to a point where they only wanted 5-8 , then we had to take it to green star. Then they started being picky and would randomly reject loads. Of course they would take the load but not pay me. It takes a lot of labor to recycle.
 
Last edited:
Aug 16, 2012
1,144
767
743
56
#20
The goverment does run LEED program for the USGBC. That's the problem it is all fake numbers. I know of a LEED platinum job that didn't even come close to hitting the recycle numbers and reuse numbers. The waste company took it to a place that said it was recycling and never did. It all ended up going to the landfill. The building got certified , the waste company said it was in the process of recycling. Never happened! Exhorbanant fees were paid to the recycle companies, the state was left to clean it up. There is still a shingle pile off of eastern.

https://new.usgbc.org/leed


https://kfor.com/2016/10/20/mountain-of-shingles-clogs-lot-after-illegal-dump/
I am an architect and I concur completely with your assessment of the LEED designations. There are a lot of useless initials behind many professions. LEED is up at the top of the list.