Reporter Takes On Recycling Man's Job
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Ever wonder what happens after throwing away that bottle or newspaper in the recycling bin?
We’re told recycling helps our environment, but how exactly does someone's waste turn into a reusable product?
I decided to take on a recycling man's job to see for myself just how strenuous the job is, and to find out how recycling impacts our environment.
We started the day off at the Waste Management Recycling Facility.
We conducted a meeting, checked the recycling trucks, and then we were off to collect recyclables.
"Paper in one bin and all the containers in another bin, and that's relatively simple. You don't have to separate the cans from the plastic, the glass from the cans, the cardboard from the newspaper, we take care of all of that," said Ken Stevens, manager of recycling at Waste Management.
Though I only did a couple of houses, the workers typically do up to 150 houses per day; depending on the amount they can even reach up to 400 houses per day.
"It's easier; you don't have to do as much separating because we do that here. So, once it's easier, more people are willing to participate," said Stevens.
Once we arrived back to the facility we unloaded all the recyclables, which are then transported to the sorting station, where I got a little dirty.
"It's an acquired taste, I've been doing it for 25 years," said Stevens.
The fast pace convener belt kept me on my toes, as I carefully searched for type one plastics only to toss into a different sorting section.
"I really like being out in the plant. Trying to find a better way, or an easier way, or a safer way of doing our job," said Stevens.
The baler station is where all the recycled items are compressed into bales that weigh more than 1,500 pounds. The bales will then be transferred to an end user to get created into new recyclable products.
"We're looking to continually grow, and continually pull more stuff out of the trash that can be used over and over," said Stevens.
On average Waste Management collects 1,100 tons a month of recyclables.
"I love it, it's a changing industry and it's growing," said Stevens. "I think we're a very valuable resource for the community. We're not your daddy's trash man anymore."