By Nikyta Palmisani
Special to the Weekly
Changes in global market prices affect our Dump business on Lopez. Beginning Jan. 3, plastics will be sorted in a new (actually old) way. We’ll go back to sorting by number. Don’t worry if you can’t see the numbers, we’ll have plenty of visual samples for you to see as well as a cadre of volunteers to help the first few times around.
Why the change? We can sell certain plastics for 15 to 21 cents a pound instead of only half a penny or less. Lopez is in a unique position. We are one of the only community operated drop box facilities in the state that have an engaged, highly educated and motivated population who are willing to self-separate. Plastics that will give us higher value are mainly liquid containers (like water bottles). They are manufactured by blow molding and therefore the resins can be recycled and reformed into other usable containers. This new sorting procedure will help us keep the dump’s rates reasonable.
Gary Lawrence, LSWDD employee says, “The changes we are making in the sort simplifies the process of self separating both at home and at the recycle plaza. The revenue returned by the new sort will help defray the costs of transportation to the mainland and maybe a little more. I see it as a win-win.”
And – there is further good news. All lead-acid auto batteries will now be accepted for no fee.
But wait, there’s more! Items that contain 50 percent or more steel (except appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators or gas/diesel powered) will now be free.
Because there is no current market for glass (in fact, it is costly to recycle or dispose of glass), there has been discussion about whether to charge a fee for glass as other recycling facilities have started to do. Don’t worry, glass will remain a free of charge recyclable for the foreseeable future. It is being deposited locally as a part of a permitted land reclamation project.
History has shown Lopezians can keep up with change, and are able to self-sort their own recycling. The dump staff and volunteers thank you for your resiliency and ability to make these changes.
If you are interested in the details of the science and chemistry involved, please read the full article “Sorting for Value” on our website: www.lopezsolidwaste.org. As always there will also be helpful volunteers on site to assist you in doing your new sorting dance.