Cincinnati — A major regional solid waste and recycling company is making new efforts to divert difficult-to-recycle plastics from landfill disposal.
Rumpke Waste & Recycling is one of the largest family-owned trash and recycling firms in the nation and a regional powerhouse operating in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. The Cincinnati-based firm is joining the Hefty ReNew program, which already operates in a handful of other communities around the country, to tackle plastics that otherwise would be trashed.
Hefty ReNew was previously known as the Hefty EnergyBag program because earlier efforts to divert the hard-to-recycle plastics included sending the material off to be used as fuel in cement kilns.
The program as evolved over time to capture the hard-to-recycle plastics for reuse in products including plastic lumber as well as blocks for construction projects.
"We want to continue to find avenues to help our customers, which are the people who live in Cincinnati, to have an avenue to [divert] flexible packaging. This is just a great way to do it," Snyder said at the Baerlocher Recycling Summit in Cincinnati. "It's just another great way for us to pull things out of the landfill.
"My job, at the end of the day, is to continue to pull things out of the landfill and get [them] into end markets," he said.
The program allows consumers to purchase special orange bags that are used to collect difficult-to-recycle plastics such as certain packaging, bags, wraps, expanded polystyrene and dinnerware. The orange bags are used to segregate these items from traditional recyclables in household recycling containers. Workers at recycling facilities can then pluck those bags away from the rest of the recyclables, aggregating them on-site before sending them off in bulk to be recycled.