Friday, March 16, 2007

Clockwork, Part 2: Mountains

Mountain of TrashYesterday I gave a brief overview of our most recent Leadership Ann Arbor class. Of course, we learned about some of the goals, challenges, and jobs of the various levels of government (state, county, and city), and that was interesting. OK, maybe I dozed a little bit during the talk about the city budget. That wasn't the fault of the speaker. It was right after lunch in a room that must have been around 80 degrees -- the same reason I had problems in my computer theory course in grad school.

While that information was interesting, I think I was most engaged when we actually visited the sites of some of these services for which the government has responsibility.

In the morning, we all piled on a bus and drove to the southeast edge of town to see the new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). As a gardener, driving past the acres and acres of compost just warmed my heart. From my seat on the bus, I could see the rich, black soil that resulted from all their work -- soil that really wanted to come home with me to give my flower beds a boost in the coming year!

We then moved on to the recycling building. This structure really had one purpose: To sort and bail the tons of recyclable materials collected each week. Huge front-loaders would push mountains of plastic, paper, metal, and glass onto conveyor belts. That garbage would pass through a variety of sorting stations, some mechanical, but many staffed by hard-working human beings. Eventually, that trash would leave the building on the front of a fork lift to be place on trucks and carried off to processors that would recycle the refuse into new products.

As I recall, our tour guide told us that Ann Arbor currently recycles about 60% of the possible residential garbage -- not too shabby. Now we need to work on the corporate recycling which is only at around 20%.

More tomorrow!

So, do you recycle at your business?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure, we recycle at our office. We religiously put the paper and containers and things in separate recycle bins that are carefully labelled.

And then in the evening, the custodians come along and pile it into the same trashbags as the rest of the garbage, making all of our efforts completely pointless.