OBERLIN -- "Renewable energy" and "high tech" are phrases you may not think of
when you're taking out the trash.
But a local company is seeing the possible
in just that.
Now, what you throw away can wind up around the world and even
back in your home.
you toss your recycling, there is a good chance it will make its way to the
Lorain County Resource Recovery Complex.
The plant opened nearly 20 years ago but recently "reopened" after a $15 million upgrade.
plant was like a Volkswagen beetle. Not a lot of moving parts to it. Not a lot
to take care of. This plant is more like a Ferrari. So it takes a little while
to understand how it works and get it tuned up the way we want it" said Eric
VanHousten, the general manager of the Elyria Business Unit for Republic
complex is the largest of its kind in the region. Grants from the Ohio EPA and
others have led to cameras that can sort out milk and juice containers.
with magnets that pluck metal and soda cans out of the air.
All the automation
means you don't have to sort or bag your recyclables. Toss it all into one bin
and your done.
automate a community or put the carts in the recycling almost triples," VanHouten said.
Thirty-five tons of recyclables move through the plant per hour.
Once sorted and formed
into bails, your garbage can go global.
cardboard will stay fairly local as will the plastics. But the fiber, the
newspaper, the mixed paper could end up anywhere in the world" said VanHouten.
the upgrades, 85 percent of what is sent to the plant is now recycled, keeping it out
of the landfill. Even with the leftover trash the company is thinking green,
creating electricity from methane gas given off by the garbage.
capture the methane and send it over to generators that will take care of more
than 20,000 homes," VanHouten said.
resources means better business.
recycling facility also helps us be a good community citizen. And we are
getting something that was thrown away back into the stream to be used again," VanHouten said.
Services runs the plant, which recycles waste from Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties, as well as parts of Sandusky. The company is looking to expand their operation