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Business puts recycling in the spotlight

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Purchase this photo at dailystatesman.com COREY NOLES-cnoles@dailystatesman.com This sea of residential recycling containers will be put into service in the near future as part of Republic Service's new recycling initiative.

Statesman Staff Writer

For years, recycling in Stoddard County has been more of an afterthought than an active initiative. Republic Services is hoping to change that.

On Nov. 15, the company launched an initiative that will make recycling easier than it has ever been.

"Convenience is the key to getting people excited to participate," said Republic's Recycling Coordinator Kristina Hollis. "That's what we're trying to do -- make recycling convenient."

And they have.

Dubbed "single sort recycling," the company has devised a way to make recycling simple, fast, and yes, convenient.

What is meant by single sort is that recycling will not require separation and multiple containers.

"Everything on our list of accepted materials goes into one container and one of our recycling facilities does the sorting work," said Republic Operations Manager Dan Rigazio.

As part of a $40 million investment in the southeastern quadrant of Missouri, Republic Services has purchased two large recycling facilities that will handle the sorting of recyclable materials.

At the local level, once the material is picked up, it is sent to Poplar Bluff at a partner facility that bales and prepares the material for shipping.

A number of commercial customers in Dexter are already involved in the program, including The Daily Statesman.

A small container is placed at each desk. Workers place their recyclable trash, including paper, cardboard, soda cans or plastic bottles in the recyclable can.

The material is then taken outside to a second dumpster that is specifically intended for recyclables only. The dumpster is picked up every other week.

The local Republic Services facility formed a committee with individuals from various areas of the company to determine the most feasible way to expand their recycling capabilities.

"We're very happy with how this is going so far," Rigazio said. "Our goal is to not be considered a garbage company that does a little recycling, but instead a recycling company that does a little garbage work."

As of now, the main focus is on commercial work, but residential recycling service has recently begun in Poplar Bluff. Rigazio said as the program develops they will be getting into contact with municipalities.

Currently, they are reaching out to school districts because of the vast amount of waste they produce.

Dexter and Poplar Bluff schools are both on board with the program, and others will likely be added in the near future.

This is also underway in the City of Cape Girardeau. Republic Services partnered with the city and did some enhancements on their equipment in exchange for handling a portion of their material baling.

Due to the method used, there are a number of items they are unable to accept, including plastic bags, food tainted items, styrofoam, motor oil bottles, plastic toys and electronics, to name a few.

For a full list of recyclables and more information regarding their service, contact Kristina Hollis at (573) 271-1534.

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