Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Ever wonder what happens to all those plastic bottles, newspapers and aluminum cans you separate daily from your trash?

You will be able to see for yourself at an open house Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Morris County’s largest recycling facility at 105 Iron Mountain Road in Mine Hill. The open house is being sponsored by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority and ReCommunity, the North Carolina-based operator of the recycling center.

The ReCommunity plant, which uses the latest in Material Recovery Facility technology, allows communities to make the switch to single-stream recycling that mixes all bottles, cans and paper together for placement in the same recycling bin.

Once the materials arrive at the MRF, ReCommunity sorts them into their various commodities, bales them and sells them to other companies that convert the materials into new products. It is that sorting and baling process that will be on display during Saturday’s open house.

“We welcome the public, especially kids, to tour our recycling center,” said Bob Anderson, business development manager for the ReCommunity facility in Morris County. “Taking a tour is the best way to understand how recycling works and what your role is in the process. People who tour our facilities become even better partners in the collection process.”

Recycling allows old newspapers to be converted into paper products, aluminum cans to be made into new cans, plastics to be recycled into additional plastic products and glass to be sized into synthetic aggregate or color sorted for re-melt into new glass, Anderson said.

Selling the processed material generates revenue for the county, said Glenn Schweizer, executive director of the Morris County MUA.

“The county is a leader in the state in recycling a major portion of its waste stream,” Schweizer said. “ReCommunity turns that stream into dollars, helping to make our recycling program self-funded and revenue-generating. We keep more material out of landfills, we enjoy a cleaner environment and we profit from the sale of materials.”

The open house will feature tours, family entertainment, free document shredding and e-waste recycling. Additional information may be obtained by calling the MUA at 973-285-8389.

Also partnering in the Oct. 1 open house is the Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located across the street from the ReCommunity facility. The ReStore accepts donated building materials, furniture and appliances for resale to the public at a fraction of the original price.

Proceeds from resales go to Morris Habitat’s mission of building decent affordable housing in partnership with volunteers and families in need.