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As you know, we recently deconstructed several structures for clients and delivered a tremendous amount, (thousands of pounds) of wood to the shredder. I decided to write more about what happens to the wood after it is left in the pile at the landfill.
Everyone looks at the mountains of wood and tree limbs to their left as they head up and around the mountain to dump their debris.
I realized that unless you are a regular there is no way to know what is going on. The sign says, “Wood recycling” but other than that, you would have to ask. I think it gives some folks ask a quiver of guilt for blowing past it, but not very many people are aware of what it is all about.
The mountain of wood and green debris
It only took me a few minutes to get enough information to call Mike Murgoitio of M&M Demolition, owner of the shredder, which I affectionately named “Seymour” (a little shop of horrors reference). Mike was quick to answer my questions. Turns out the massive machine that is fed by a huge tractor with a claw, it costs around a cool million dollars new. Seymour is a real rock star; she is on tour year round. “This year she trekked all the way to Yellowstone,” Mike said proudly.
She weighs close to 100 thousand pounds and is hauled around by a semi-truck. It works by rotating 26, 125-pound hammers that smash the wood into sharpened blades. Mike likes to say coyly, “It is a very violent process.” Next, the chipped material passes through two very strong magnets to pull any metal out, and then soars into the air off a conveyer belt. Mike lamented “The 1000 horse powered grinder is only a one trick pony, but she is very good at what she does.”
Ted Hutchinson the Commander in Chief of the Ada County landfill for over a decade agrees, that it is one of the best deals besides being able to drop off TVs for free, amnesty for household hazardous waste, and complimentary seagull watching, (if you can avoid being pooped on) that they have going.
Ted said that the residential waste stream just switched to a weight based system in October 2014. The scales were installed over a year ago to collect data. The scales are finally being used to quit guessing the volume and start charging by weight. There was tremendous push back by the large users of the landfill, so they are still on the volume system. FFN (Forever for now)
Ted specializes in urban waste streams. “The Treasure Valley is not unique,” He said, “We have a recycling program, cardboard, metal, and plastic are handled with ease, glass recycling is a work in progress.” “One of the things we are proud of is our wood and woody shrubs are taken care of but we are missing all sorts of opportunities with other bio products, especially cut grass and leftover food.”
“Other communities are way ahead of us, (in terms of recycling and waste stream management) but we are notoriously a few steps behind the big urban areas of the country.” He attributes this to the fact that we have not run out of space to stash our trash, and won’t in the foreseeable future. “We are testing a few things but are not pioneering anything at the moment. A zero waste stream is our big audacious goal. “We are focused and headed slowly in a waste stream reduction direction.” Ted said like a true leader.
For a reduced fee $22 per ton instead of the normal $33 per ton. (a ton is equal to 2000 us pounds) you can “Eddie out” to the wood recycling area just past TV and refrigerator land on your left. No mixed loads allowed for now.
Turns out that this area is leased by MM Demolition. A company on the site that does several cool things with it depending upon the time of year and the prevailing market. The landfill pays Mike to haul the stuff off. I cornered Buddy Morrison and Rylee Marshall the overseer of the process, and convinced them to “Take me to the wood pile” figuratively. Here is what the ground up material is used for.
- Cow Bedding: The decomposing stuff turns into a steaming pile of 65 degree organic material that when placed in the cow pens keeps the cows off the ice and snow.
- Hog Burner fuels: No, they don’t burn hogs, this is a type of fuel used in commercial situations for bio fuel is burned in Bio mass furnaces. It is consumed efficiently and leaves little waste.
- Landscaping mulch: This is done with non painted organic materials and makes a fine mulch which can be resold. It is currently only available in semi-truckload quantities.
- Compost: A soil amendment that once mixed with manure is tilled back into farm fields.
Lead paint and the shredder
Truth be told I am concerned about the leaded paint going into mulch or back into the soil or being burned for that matter and here was the response from the folks that are handling the wood recycling. Rylee assures me they do lead testing and separate out the leaded wood and do not include it into the mixes.
All in all I think the process is just one more thing that our landfill is doing to reduce and repurpose materials out of the landfill and Levco is proud to be a regular contributor.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
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