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Recyclers reroute 4,000 tons from Verde Valley
Written by Lu Stitt   
Sunday, 12 February 2012 00:00

Imagine how big a pile 4,316 tons of recyclable materials would make.

That’s how much people in Sedona and the Verde Valley kept out of the landfill in 2011 through Sedona Recycles — 8.6 million pounds.

“We lost Cottonwood in July, so we are down we figure by about 200 tons but we redistributed those bins to new mini sites,” said Jill McCutcheon, executive director for Sedona Recycles.

Sedona resident Jim Schaeffer deposits plastic recyclable materials in a bin at Sedona Recycles on Saturday, Feb. 4, in West Sedona. The nonprofit organization reportedly processed 4,316 tons of recyclable materials in 2011 keeping more than 8.6 million pounds of material out of the Yavapai County landfill.New sites are at Villa Drive and Main Street, Willard Street and State Route 89A and 10th and Main streets in Cottonwood. Sedona Recycles also has a set of collection bins at the Yavapai County Annex on S. Sixth Street and at the Yavapai County Superior Court and Camp Verde Detention Center Complex on State Route 260.

“We wanted to work with nonprofits and with the county,” McCutcheon said. “The ones at the court and jail don’t have a bin for glass. They don’t deal in glass there.”

Before 2009, Sedona Recycles used percentage estimates and did not know exactly how much material it processed and sent to recyclers. Most recycle companies do not weigh the items, McCutcheon said.

“We started weighing here so we know exactly how much goes through this tiny place and how much is coming in from each community. We like that we have accountability,” McCutcheon said.

Nearly 50 percent of the recyclable items came from Sedona —about 1,901 tons — with another 518 tons from the Village of Oak Creek. Cottonwood, even with six months lost, produced 901 tons, and Camp Verde sent 457 tons to Sedona Recycles.

“All of that would have been buried and wasted,” McCutcheon said. “Hardly anything that comes in here ends up in the landfill. Even the film plastic — grocery bags — is taken to a local grocery so they can recycle them. We don’t have the ability here.”

Because Sedona Recycles has people sorting items, everything goes where it belongs. All of the recyclable material is sent to American recyclers.

“We keep everything here in the U.S.,” McCutcheon said. “Office paper we send to Snowflake, and it comes back to Sedona as newsprint to the Sedona Red Rock News.”

“Recycling is getting better all the time,” she said. “Manufacturers are using recycled and recyclable packing more, and people are using recyclable items more.”

Sedona Recycles’ Director of Community Development Meghan Kincheloe said everyone at the center would like to see the numbers grow.

As more items are recycled, fewer items end up in the landfill, along the roadways or in the desert.

“We always hope the people are reusing and reducing more and hope they’re using less that needs recycling,” Kincheloe said, echoing the slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” “Yet, 4,300 tons is still a huge number, especially before it’s been baled.”

In 2012, the staff hopes to see the numbers of pounds increase but does not plan on any new sites.

“If people think they need a new site, they can call us and we’ll look at it,” Kincheloe said. “Otherwise our big project for 2012 is to get our packing Styrofoam crushing program up and running. That is going to be big. It’s amazing how much Styrofoam is used.”

Trial runs of the program proved successful, except for a few glitches with the crusher.

“Once we get the machine going, hopefully in March we’ll start taking in the packing Styrofoam and condense the mountain we already have,” McCutcheon said.

Sedona Recycles now collects household batteries inside the complex during business hours. Bring them in separate from other recyclables. Auto batteries can be recycled at local auto parts stores. The battery recycling station was made possible through a grant from the Sedona 30, McCutcheon said.

Sedona Recycles is at 2280 Shelby Drive in West Sedona, which is open daily from 8 a.m.

to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

Recyclables can be dropped off in the collection bins in front of the office any time.

 

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