Contamination Problems

Did you know Recycling can get CONTAMINATED??? 


Recyclers, we need your help…again!  Recently I visited Millennium Recycling, the Materials Recovery Facility, in Sioux Falls where recyclables collected in Lyon County get transported to for sorting.  From there they’re shipped to end markets that use them as feedstock in the manufacture of new products. As I’ve mentioned before, my own little peepers have seen some of the wrong stuff that gets put in recycling carts/containers at drop-off locations and it ain’t pretty. 

But, just in case there was a remote possibility that I forgot, going to the MRF was definitely a visual/aromatic reminder.  Before we proceed though, let me share with you what the gal who gave us the tour mentioned.  She said they get materials from a number of areas and compared to some of those, the loads coming from Lyon County are generally pretty ‘clean’.  That’s a good thing!  Give yourselves a high five!  

⇒However fellow recyclers, as the old saying goes…our work is never done.

     Two cases in point - a couple of months back one of the loads from our county contained quite a few needles/sharps and last week there was some other medical items…bags and tubes…in a batch.  We know that contamination is a big headache for collection providers, and also for the MRF as it can cause lower production rates; damaged equipment and degradation of quality of the acceptable materials. Frustrating as that is, the biggest concern is to the employees of both work environments being exposed to health and safety hazards caused by the unacceptable items. Examples of things that are unacceptable and safety/health hazards are: medical waste of any kind including sharps; any type of gaseous containers, e.g. propane/oxygen/helium canisters; knives (when I was at Millennium our guide showed us a large box they put the knives in that show up in the recycling and there was a sword in there, too); hoses/cords; diapers; etc.

     The last time I wrote about contamination problems I hadn’t yet visited Millennium.  Video clips I had watched showed materials moving by on a conveyer belt past employees who pull unacceptable stuff off before it gets into the automated part of things.  However, there’s lot moving past at a pretty good clip so it’s understandable how wrong stuff can ‘sneak by’ at times.  And, just like when farm equipment such as a combine gets plastic bags wrapped up in the gears it halts the harvest, so goes it at the MRF when things like plastic bags, diapers, wire hangers,  medical waste, etc. get past the workers. And of course there’s that yuck factor if it happens to be say something like a diaper. Along with the pollution problems do not forget to visit the website and online casino roulette .  Not sure how good I’d be trying to pull it/unwind it from the machine…it’s hard to work while you’re bending over a bucket.  Sorry!  Anyway, thanks again for letting me ‘bend your eyes’ and for your assistance in spreading the word about this important issue!  It’s appreciated! If you have a chance watch a short (34 seconds) clip regarding contamination at   It’s part of Rhode Island’s recycling program information.  Good title - Recycle Better to Keep Our Workers Safe – and a good idea!

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