Recycling Saves Landfill Space and the Environment

Local Dumpster Rental Man strongly supports recycling efforts whenever possible. Recycling saves on landfill space, is cheaper than using raw materials and is right for the environment. We look for dumpster service providers that utilize recycling centers and single-stream general waste sorting facilities if they are available.

Recycling is becoming more and more prevalent in the United States, but sadly only about 25% of waste generated by Americans is actually recycled. The larger waste companies are now recycling more and more of what is called single-stream recycling materials. Single stream is when all the trash is collected into one truck, usually a rear-load garbage truck, then taken to a sorting facility and sorted into various recyclable materials.

The owners of the sorting facilities make money on the garbage truck dumping fees and on the separated recyclable material.  Cardboard, aluminum, tin and plastics are the most profitable materials for the sorting facility. Plastic water bottles, for example, are turned into “flakes” and then shipped bulk to textiles factories to be turned into carpeting, clothing and other useful items. Unfortunately most of the poly flakes come from other countries instead of the United States. The United States generates billions of plastic water bottle trash, but only about 22 % is recycled.

Cardboard is very recyclable, but only a small fraction of the fiber board material is recycled in the United States. The reason is mostly economic. It is generally cheaper for consumers to place the cardboard or paper in the garbage to be taken to the landfill rather than bundling it up and taking it to a recycling center.  Thousands of trees could be saved if only people had a recycling mentality.

In Michigan, most aluminum cans are recycled because of the deposit that consumers have to pay on canned beverages. Before the deposit law was implemented in the late 1970s, people just tossed the cans in the dumpster or mixed them into the household garbage and placed it on the curb. The landfills are full of aluminum cans and maybe someday, it will be profitable to actually “mine” landfills. In the meantime, single stream sorting facilities are the answer. The only problem is, they are expensive to build and to operate.

Dumpster waste can also be recycled if a recycling facility is available. If the material, say shingles, is not mixed with other debris, the shingles can be recycled into a mix that is added to asphalt and used in road beds and parking lots. These are called “clean loads” and Local Dumpster Rental Guy encourages our haulers to utilize shingle recycling centers whenever possible.

Localdumpsterrental Man Mixed dumpster loads“Mixed dumpster loads” (large loads containing construction or demolition debris or mixed household items in a home clean out) can also be recycled if a separating facility is in the area. Sadly, these types of facilities are few and far between, but are available in some larger cities.

Concrete, bricks, metals all can be recycled. If a homeowner is removing a concrete slab, sidewalk or foundation, Local Dumpster Rental Guy encourages them to keep the load “clean” and free of other debris. Haulers can take the used concrete material to an approved concrete crushing facility. Crushed concrete is valued for using as road bed material or parking lot material. If the material in the dumpster can be taken to a crushing facility instead of the landfill, the price of the dumpster may be less. Most crushing facilities will not charge haulers to dump the load at their facility because the facility actually sells the material to contractors. Ask your local hauler if there is a crushing facility available in your area.

Recycling doesn’t necessarily mean, melting something down and then creating something new out of the material, as with aluminum cans or glass bottles. Today recycling could mean, converting the object into something useful to someone else or simply donating an item to be re-used.

Many discount thrift stores will gladly send a truck to pick up items at a person’s home to take back to the store, refurbish it and then re-sell it to someone else. Furniture for example, rather than just being tossed into a dumpster and then buried in a landfill, can be cleaned, restored and then donated or sold to someone that can’t afford something brand new.

Clothing also is a very recyclable commodity. Goodwill and The Salvation Army collection boxes can be found all in more and more places these days. If you are cleaning out closets, rather than throwing used clothing into a dumpster or bagging it up and putting it on the curb, Local Dumpster Rental Man encourages homeowners to find the nearest drop box and recycle that sweater or pair of shoes. There are many less fortunate people that can use items that some people just throw away.

Homeowners would be surprised to learn that some of the “junk” that they throw in a dumpster is actually worth money. Metals such as tin, copper, steel and brass can be recycled into cash simply by collecting it and then hauling to a scrap yard. If a homeowner is throwing out an old fan or other electric appliance we suggest removing the cord first. The copper in the electrical cord is worth money. The copper in it is worth about a dollar in today’s copper market.  Garbage men know this. If they see a recyclable metal, as with the electric cord, they will collect it and store it away on the truck until they have enough to warrant a trip to the scrap yard. Most trash haulers supplement their incomes in this way.

Localdumpsterrental Man Dumpster ManPickers also will collect recyclable materials from the curb. If a picker is driving by on collection day and they see something that they might be able to sell, they will take it, refurbish it and then put it in a garage sale or auction. Some collectors make a decent living rifling through the trash on the curb or dumpster diving. 

Recycling is easy and saves on landfill space.  As landfills fill up around the country, it will become more and more necessary to find alternative ways of disposing of unwanted material. Check with your local dumpster service provider or go online and research whether the material is recyclable before throwing it in the dumpster or putting it on the curb. If you have furniture or clothing, donate it to charity. Local Dumpster Rental Man encourages everyone to think about recycling and not just disposal.