The Recyclinator

A field trip to Hooksett

Elaine Kellerman
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Have those of you with curbside recycling ever wondered where your recyclables go when the truck pulls away? Well, I have, and last week I got the chance to find out.

Concord contracts with Bestway Disposal Services to collect recycling. Bestway then transports the recycling to a Republic Services Inc., facility in Hooksett. Inside this facility is a recycler's dream come true. Picture mountains of bottles, cans, cartons and containers. To me, it is a joyous thing knowing that this "trash" is not trashed, but en route to rebirth as other products.

A lot of recycling goes on at this facility. They process about 3,000 tons a month, using 18 employees working six days a week. Around 70 percent of the tonnage is fiber (mixed paper, newspapers, cardboard), which isn't surprising considering how heavy piles of paper can be.

A combination of humans and machines sort the incoming recyclables by type. It is then baled for shipment to whichever markets are currently offering the best prices.

The facility strives to keep its recyclables as free as possible from contaminants. The fewer contaminants, the higher their value. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to toss in a plastic bag or two in your recycling container.

I stood fascinated, watching the mixed recycling inch up a mechanized conveyor belt. Halfway up, an employee was pulling out items that didn't belong - most often it was plastic bags.

I watched his arms in constant motion. He does this and nothing else during a six-hour shift for minimum wage. Trust me, that's a tough way to make a living. This image may persuade you to take that extra minute to make sure you only recycle accepted items. If you ever have questions about that, you can always refer to the city's website for detailed information.

So, Concord, feel good when you tote your recyclables to the curb each week. You're increasing the city's recycling rate and contributing to a green economy.

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