HIGH POINT, N.C. -- It’s estimated that 75 percent of what we throw away can be recycled.
While many people across the world will observe Earth Day, for people at the City of High Point’s Materials Recovery Facility, every day is Earth Day.
“We process about 9,000 tons a year of recyclables,” Melanie Bruton, Materials Recovery Facility superintendent, said.
Employees sort as much as one truck of material by hand each hour.
It’s a task that requires attention to detail because not everything that comes to the facility belongs there.
One issue, people are not properly recycling plastic bags.
“Some of the bags get caught in the machinery, it gets tangled,” Bruton said.
Grocery bags and bags made of a similar material should be recycled at the stores themselves where designated companies come and pick them up.
Another concern, electronics that are put in recycling carts. The items should be brought to the facility directly to be properly re-used.
Not only is understanding the protocol for recycling an item important, but also knowing what can be recycled to begin with.
Bruton says people are throwing away items that can be recovered.
“In our landfill, we get a lot of cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans,” she said.
Those items can be used to make the same or new products.
The 9,000 tons of material the facility processes is equal to about one acre of landfill space.
“Each person produces about four pounds of garbage a day. We want to take as much of that garbage as we can and process the recycling out of that,” Bruton said.
For a complete list of what is and is not recyclable in High Point, visit highpointnc.gov/pubsrv/index.cfm.