By Janine DavisRecord Staff WriterOne of the busiest times of the year for the East Central Missouri Recycling Center is approaching as area residents start to focus on tidying up their homes for the holidays.“Everyone’s looking for ways to declutter to make way for family celebrations,” said Ben Meyers, an employee at the center. “Many people want to take an approach that’s environmentally sound through recycling household and commercial materials that can be turned into something else. We’re here to help.”In fact, a sign now posted at the center’s entrance invites people to come in and ask what kinds of materials they can safely recycle at the facility.“We take a lot of materials,” said Meyers.Want to get rid of old manufactured Christmas trees and lights that don’t work? Bring them on out, urges Meyers.“We’ll even take live trees after the holidays and compost them out back.”The center cannot accept ornaments beyond lights.‘Pretty MuchEverything’“We take all types of paper, including magazines, books and wrapping paper,” he said. Any electronics with a plug can be recycled free, except for televisions and computer monitors, which have a more complicated breakdown process that requires a small charge.“We take pretty much everything, except furniture and Styrofoam,” said Meyers. Within the center and on its grounds, there are several specialty drop-off containers, including an ink cartridge recycling bin and a clothing and fabric collection station that sits on the parking lot.Since its opening three years ago, the operation and its patrons have diverted approximately 750 tons of solid waste material from landfills, material that is used again in making everything from new beverage cans and containers to newsprint and cardboard and chipboard packaging. Even clothing items made from plastic.The center also has hosted special collection events for items such as pesticides.It even shreds documents.Some Plastics Hit a Rough Spot“We get a lot of questions about plastics, and for the time being, we’re focusing on taking lower grade plastic bottles, food containers, milk and juice jugs, detergent bottles and plastic bags,” said Meyers. “We’re not taking numbers higher grades, because we can’t get rid of these plastics ... at least for now.”Meyer said the problem is that traditionally offshore markets such as China have accepted lower grades (and higher numbers on the scale) of plastic. But with so much volume coming in from the U.S. and other developed markets and so little return on the material in terms of recycle value, these buyers have blocked intake, leaving little alternative for consumers than to put them in the trash where they go on to landfills.For now, Meyers hopes people will think of the recycling center as they prepare for the holidays and all the pre- and post-celebration cleanup that surrounds them. Not only will there be less clutter and hassle to deal with, but there’s the satisfaction that those aluminum cans will be reincarnated into at least three generations of cans on retail shelves, or maybe rolled aluminum used in car bodies. And don’t forget the fleece jacket that might be a Christmas present likely started from plastic detergent bottle.The recycling center was established through a grant from the East Central Missouri Solid Waste Management District and is operated by the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission. The center is located at 24448 South Highway 47 near the Warrenton Golf Course, and serves Franklin, Lincoln, Montgomery and Warren counties.Items Collected:AluminumHome appliancesRechargeable batteriesCardboardChipboardElectronicsFluorescent bulbs (fee)CFLsGlassInk cartridgesMetalMotor oilNewsprintPlastics (#s 1 and 2)PaperTextilesTin cansTires (fee)
Ben Meyer sorts through paper and plastic.