CA places a large emphasis on recycling within the community. Redeem and recycling bins can be found all over the school, and once a year, students complete their scheduled recycling duty during Club Block. This recycling is later sent to EL Harvey, a recycling services company based out of Westborough. Over a series of emails, I spoke with Wayne Lamalva, CA’s sales rep at EL Harvey, about where CA’s recycling is sent to.
EL Harvey has been handling CA’s recycling for about three years, collecting almost 10,000 lbs a month. After accumulation, the recycling is processed at one of EL Harvey’s facilities in Westborough, MA. According to a video uploaded to EL Harvey’s Youtube channel in 2015, the recycling at their single-stream plants first goes through a series of screens as well as mechanical and manual separation, in order to separate the products. The first screening is in order to manually separate objects that are too large to go through the plant – boxes, pails, or film plastics that could damage the recycling system.
After this screening, which is called the “pre-sort,” the recycling goes through another series of screens to separate out more large objects. The remaining recycling – mostly paper – is sent onto another conveyor belt to be sorted. By this time, any remaining glass has been sorted out and is sent to a glass recycling plant. The various remaining articles are then separated, with fiber items, such as cardboard, sent to a quality control conveyor and the remaining items sent to a different conveyor in order to continue through the recycling process.
This second conveyor, where the bottles and cans are sent to, then goes through two more series of screenings, in order to separate larger paper objects and any fibers that may have made it through the first screenings. All remaining items are then manually sorted, in order to remove aluminum and PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), which is also sorted out by an optical scanner that recognizes the resin in plastic bottles, while the aluminum is sorted out magnetically.
After this process occurs, the separated materials are poured onto a conveyor, where they are then compacted into bales, each of which ways about 15,000 lbs. These bales are then loaded onto trailers and shipped off to mills.
Mr. Lamalva provided CA with tips on how to be more eco-friendly:
1) Recycle only what is asked for. (see attached list of what is acceptable and what are contaminants)
2) Label all trash and recycling containers accordingly
3) NO plastic bags. If you bring recycling to a recycling container shake out the recyclables and put the plastic bag in the TRASH
4) When in doubt, throw it out!