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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Where Oh Where Does Our Recycling Go?.

Roy Edwards, Jimmy Chancellor,
Ford Chambers, Chris Moyer,
Steve Simon & Holly Elmore
With the Sustainable Food Court Initiative ready to move into ACTION mode with several soon to be announced Atlanta pilot projects, understanding the final destination of single-stream commercial recycling efforts is integral to the projects.  SP Recycling hosted the SFCI Team, along with several ZWZ Champions, for an afternoon of education and understanding of MRF (material recovery facilities) operations.

Chris & Roy
SP Recycling is a wholly owned subsidiary of SP Newsprint, which operates one of their two U.S. mills in Dublin, GA.  The main operating premise for the MRF is to provide "raw material" to the Dublin mill in the form of recovered newspaper.  Atlanta is fortunate to have the end-use mill just outside of the metro area and SP's MRF a few miles south of I-285.  With SP Recycling and SP Newsprint, Atlanta's recycling can keep a low carbon footprint on the transportation to the final destination for recycled newsprint.

David Wilson educating on glass
Yikes, glass is the demon of single-stream recycling!  One of the afternoon take-a-aways was the importance of source segregating at the consumption point.  Second to labor, glass disposal is the largest expense at the SP Recycling facility.  Now the challenge is finding an economically viable end use to keep glass from landfill destination.

Steve & Holly
SP Recycling is the destination for many of Atlanta's recycling haulers, including Waste Management.  According to Fred Johnson, Corporate Director of Operations @ SP Recycling, 85% of the single-stream recycling delivered to their Forest Park facility is residential, or curbside in recycling language.  Hmmm .... it makes one wonder what percentage of corporate Atlanta has active recycling programs.

Here is some info on SP Newsprint:  SP Newsprint is a privately held American business owned by three large North American media companies: Cox Enterprises, Knight-Ridder and Media General. The company produces high-quality newsprint from recycled fiber. 

When it opened in 1979, the company's mill in Dublin, Georgia was the first in the southern United States to produce high-quality newsprint from 100 percent recycled fiber. At the time, many people in the industry doubted that this could even be accomplished.

Today the Dublin mill has not only survived but is setting records. 

Stay tuned as SFCI and ZWZ continue to explore the final destination of recycling efforts and how creating a cleaner stream at the source will impact the overall reuse/repurpose rates.

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