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Communities net $1.2 million rebate from Waukesha County recycling

April 21, 2014
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By Don Behm of the Journal Sentinel

April 21, 2014 0

Waukesha County residents recycled enough waste containers and paper in 2013 to cover an entire football field to a depth of 22 feet, about the height of a two-story building.

The recyclables were collected by 25 municipalities, and they will split more than $1.2 million from sales of the material to help offset their costs of the service, county solid waste supervisor Rebecca Mattano said Monday. Waukesha County has paid out more than $12.1 million to the municipalities since 2001.

The 25 communities spent $3 million to collect and haul plastics, glass, metal and paper in 2013, so the county payments will cover a little more than one-third of the total costs, according to Dale Shaver, director of the county Parks and Land Use Department.

"That's true tax relief," Shaver said. A dozen other municipalities do not participate in the county program.

The City of Waukesha, the county's most populous community, will get a check in the amount of $297,518 for its share of the revenue. The City of Brookfield will receive $212,634.

Separating recyclables from household garbage saves landfill space and meets demand of manufacturers for the materials, county officials said. The 25 participating communities haul the resources to the Material Recycling Facility.

The 2013 mound of recyclables — weighing in at 18,826 tons last year — is shipped from the facility to manufacturers throughout the United States and Canada to be made into new containers and other consumer products.

The load included 10,339 tons of paper and cardboard. Corrugated cardboard and paperboard is shipped to Menasha or Chattanooga, Tenn., to be processed into new boxes and other packaging.

Newspapers, magazines and catalogs go to Fond du Lac to be made into insulation or Kalamazoo, Mich. to be turned into new packaging. Newspapers, too, go to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to be converted to newsprint.

The 4,658 tons of glass collected in 2013 ended up in East Troy or Chicago for production of new glass containers.

Plastic containers stamped No. 1 end up in Georgia, where they are processed into fiber for new carpeting. Plastic No. 2 is shipped to Michigan for use in new bottles for household products as well as planks for decking and benches.

Aluminum cans generated $1,300 a ton in revenue, more than any other material, Shaver said. The county's 2013 collection of 285 tons was shipped to St. Louis, where it was made into new cans.

Twitter: twitter.com/conserve

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About Don Behm

Don Behm reports on Milwaukee County government, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the environment and communities in southeastern Wisconsin. He has won reporting awards for investigations of Great Lakes water pollution, Milwaukee's cryptosporidiosis outbreak, and the deaths of three sewer construction workers in a Menomonee Valley methane explosion.

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