Recyclables in Metro Ending Up in Landfills


Tuesday, December 30th 2008, 12:48 am
By: News 9


By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Papers and plastics left for recycling around the metro are actually ending up in landfills.

This defeatist practice is happening because many recyclable materials are dropping in value. Companies that help us go green are having a harder time raking green into their business.

In the city of The Village, Ruby Laxton spends plenty of time focusing on recycling each bottle saved from the picture in her mind.

"When you drive by landfills you just see that mountain grow. It's unreal," Laxton said.

Saving recyclable material is what happens inside Greenstar, a corporate recycler, but these days, there is more cardboard than general manager Brian Reid knows what to do with.

The same goes for overflowing piles of newspaper and towers of crushed aluminum cans. It's all significantly dropped in value over the past few months

"Some mills are not honoring contracts saying ‘We're full, we're not taking material'," Reid said.

These days, the plastics piling up are virtually worthless.

"Two months ago, I was getting 22 cents a pound delivered," Reid said. "Two weeks ago, I shipped the same load out and actually had to pay to get rid of it."

The industry wide problem has trickled down to Ruby Laxton. The stuff she's stuffing down her brown recycle bin might as well be in any other bin this month.

"Our recycling contractor notified us that the recycling center that takes recyclables from The Village is no longer taking single stream recyclables," Laxton said.

Single stream simply means bins where recyclables aren't separated. The bins are still getting picked up, but products are getting sent to the landfill.

"It's a shame, it's a lot of waste," Laxton said. "The Village was the first city to start curbside recycling."

Village city officials are working on putting a recycling drop-off bin at the public works building where items will still be recycled.