What do you recycle here?
We recycle mainly residential, some commercial. Also other items, plastics; HTP and PPT, which are #1s and #2s; tin, which is mostly food containers; aluminum, which is beverage
containers; glass, which is food and beverage contains. We recycle corrugated cardboard, newspaper, magazines, and office paper.
What happens to the recyclable materials?
It goes all over. I can through all the items and tell you generally where they go.
Our glass goes down to a place called Continuing Recycle Alliance, which is owned and operated by Waste Management also. They'll clean up the glass, they'll
crush it down into cullet and send it to an end-user where they'll make new glass products out of it like cork jar and so forth.
With plastics, the HTP goes to a place called Catenation, which is up in Green Bay. They'll clean it, it'll go through washing stations, and they'll shred it down into flake. They'll either sell it that way or go one step further and compound it down into pellets. That'll be sent to an end-user where they'll maybe make new Tide bottles or Downy
bottles or they'll make recycling bins out of it. HTP can be made into a lot of different things.
PT goes to a place called Image Industries where they actually make carpet fibers out of it, household carpeting made out of recycled pop bottles.
The tin cans go to AMG down in Chicago. It's a scrap dealer for metal. It can be made into new cars and bikes and brake pads or whatever.
The aluminum goes to Alcan where they'll melt it down. It'll go through a cleaning
process also. They'll melt it down into ingots and roll it out in sheets and make it into beverage containers.
Corrugated cardboard goes to six different mills. Most of it is made back into new corrugated cardboard containers, packaging.
Newspaper goes to six or seven places also. They're all throughout the United States and into Canada. It's made back into newspaper for newsprint.
Mixed office paper goes to Fort Howard, Green Bay. At first it goes to
Aquasort, one of their plants, where they'll sort out more of the whites, the fluorescents, the browns. They make toilet paper, tissue paper, paper toweling, and so forth out of it.
How much stuff do you get here?
We do about 250-300 tons a day of materials to recycle.
What happens if people throw their recyclable materials away?
We're not a buy back
center. We pick it up ourselves. An individual like yourself would bring it in and we wouldn't pay you for your aluminum. There is a place on Fish Hatchery Road called Madison Paper and Recycling that would do that.
We're also the Dane County recycling facility. In Dane County back in 1991, it was going to be mandatory to recycle. At that time, they wanted to have a facility that communities and municipalities could bring their material to. So we get
material from communities and municipalities, most of which we pick up ourselves. But also, the city of Madison brings in their material to us.
But yes, if they [people] don't put their material out to the curb for the city of Madison to pick it up, either they would have to take it to a buy-back center or it would be landfilled.
Where do the recyclable materials come from?
We cover, our facility covers, a fair amount
of Wisconsin. Waste Management has quite a few different waste companies within the state, and we transfer most of it back here. We get material from all around the Madison-area communities.
We have a satellite near Lake Dell, and all the material from there comes down here. At Prairie Du Chien, we have a satellite and that material comes here. At Arlginton we have a satellite office and that material comes here. We get material from the Tri-County facility
which is Oskosh, Fon Du Lac, and Appleton. We get material from Green Bay, we get material from Wawatosa which is down near Milwaukee, we get material from all over Wisconsin.
Who receives the money from the recycled materials?
It goes to us and the person bringing the materials in. The way the Dane County contract is set up, Dane County first pays us so much money a year just to own and operate the facility.
Then, in return, the users of the facility pay a tipping fee. That tipping fee is broken into two parts. There's a fixed rate, which they pay to Dane County. That's to offset what they pay us every year to own and operate this facility. Then there's a variable fee that they pay us for the processing of the material.
Then in return, we get 20% of the money from the sale of the material, they get 80% of it.