Kingman's recycling program showing results

As bins fill up, fewer loads going to the landfill

Kalin Comins recycles a bag of items at the recycling bins at Centennial Park Friday. He rode there in Tommy Comin’s ’39 Chevy. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

Kalin Comins recycles a bag of items at the recycling bins at Centennial Park Friday. He rode there in Tommy Comin’s ’39 Chevy. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - Recycling in Kingman over the last few years has become more popular and easier to do. Between the multiple recycling companies and the city-run EZ Recycling program, nearly all products that can be recycled have a place to go in Kingman.

Since the city started its recycling program in 2008, the sanitation department has seen a decrease in waste going to the landfill. In 2013, the department made 3,620 trips to the landfill to dump, 55 fewer trips than 2012. That equates to 691 fewer tons of trash ending up at the landfill.

"It's outstanding. Participation continues to grow," said Eddie Tapia, sanitation superintendent for the city of Kingman. "All our drop sites are encouraged for county residents as well."

The bins are open 24/7 and designated by product, and anyone can dump their recyclable products for free. The sanitation department asks that people don't dump normal trash in these cans, as this contaminates all the products in there.

A pilot program for door-to-door cans for recycling may be implemented in the future, but at the moment it is difficult to do citywide because Kingman is in a rural area, said Tapia.

Paper products, plastics, glass, metals, and electronic waste can be recycled at city-run locations around Kingman for free.

Bulldog Recycling, located at 2800 East Andy Devine Ave. and 2566 West Highway 66, recycles metals, plastics, paper, cardboard, and clear glass. They pay for metals by the pound.

KAR Recycling, located at 3800 East Andy Devine Ave., recycles metals and also pays for them by the pound.

SA Recycling, located at 3880 East Andy Devine Ave., recycles metals as well as car batteries and other car parts. They also pay for products by the pound.

Many retailers also accept certain products for recycling, such as grocery bags at supermarkets, batteries at Radio Shack, and electronic waste at Staples. The recycling programs vary depending on the company.

The private recyclers, as well as the Kingman EZ Recycling program, rarely process the materials in Kingman. The products here are collected, sorted, and then sold off to plants or bigger recycling companies for processing.

Here's what happens to materials that are recycled:

Paper

Paper is sorted by type (newspaper, white paper, cardboard) and taken to a pulping facility, where it is soaked and heated until it becomes pulp.

After removing small debris, ink and glue, the pulp is refined and beaten again to create a useable pulp to make sheets of paper.

Aluminum

Aluminum cans are very easy to recycle, and making a can from recycled goods actually takes less energy to make than one from raw materials.

The cans are shredded and melted at a recycling plant, then formed into an aluminum ingot. The ingot is shipped to plants to make new cans and products.

Because of the price of aluminum, recycling plants will often pay for aluminum cans by the pound. Bulldog Recycling, for example, pays 60 cents per pound.

Plastic

Plastic products are rarely truly "recycled," as the plastic recovered from bottles and such often goes to other products such plastic lumber, carpet and textiles, or even clothing.

Plastic recycling is also unpopular because the process is costly and the product is cheap, and many plastic materials such as utensils are unable to be recycled.

Regardless, recycling plastic is recommended because it contains mostly man-made materials and other materials, including petroleum and crude oil.

Plastic bottles are separated into 7 different categories based on the kind of plastic, and a number in the middle of the recycling symbol signifies what type of plastic it is.

The plastic is washed, then chopped into flakes. The flakes are separated and melted into a liquid, then fed through a screen that creates long strands of plastic.

Those strands can go directly to a product (like plastic lumber) or be made into pellets, which are then transferred to a manufacturer to be processed.

Glass

Glass is sorted by color before it is crushed into a powder called cullet. The cullet is mixed with new sand, soda ash and limestone (the components of glass) and heated into a liquid to create new glass.

Glass waste is very heavy and dense, and contributes to a great portion of the weight that ends up in landfills. Glass recycling also offsets a significant amount of carbon dioxide released during the creation of new glass, saving 315 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every metric ton recycled.

Electronic waste

Electronic waste refers to consumer or commercial electronics that are outdated and need to be thrown away. These electronics often contain glass, plastic, and metals such as copper, silver, gold, and palladium.

Electronic waste recycling can follow two different processes. First, if the product is older but still useable, the product is donated to those in need or those who can utilize it. This goes especially for computers and cell phones, which often are still useable when they get discarded.

If a product is broken or too old to reuse, the product is stripped of its specific parts, more often than not for its metals.

A computer motherboard contains copper, aluminum, lead, and palladium that can be recovered.

Recycling electronic waste also prevents these metals from ending up in a landfill, which in significant quantities can become an environmental hazard and seep into underground water reservoirs.