38 years sorting the garbage - still more questions.

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Arthur Boone

Sep 1, 2021, 9:33:00 PMSep 1
to greenyes
Hope your experiences can illuminate my learning.

1. I see folks with take-out food packages tossed in the trash; some is organic, some plastics, little metal or glass. How would that get prepared for composting? It's yucky as it comes in.

2. If things are slow where I work, a brown paper bag with take-out food packages would be air dried rather than composted; slight amounts of food material stuck to the dried brown paper would be overlooked.

3. Recently I found a neglected container full of peach pits; the rats had been in there feeding but also chewing up the aluminum foil that had been in the mix. I cut myself some slack on the ALF which I would not have done if it were glass shards; after removing some of the foil, I let some go with the pits into the organics. Will the farmers be upset?

4.  My test for PE film vs. cellophane is the stretch-ability. A lot of plastic cutlery comes in either material but if the material stretches, it's PE film. I'll put thin cellophane in the compost but not thick stuff.

5. Here in Oakland we have Viola Juices which sells its drained HDPE natural scrap to a local buyer/baler/packer; don't know the price. How common is that?  And, are there markets for non-CRV  PET? I see a lot of those two ounce wine and whisky PET bottles.

6.On the back page of each Resource Recycling is Market Analysis which mentions three grades of "film," I assume this is PE film but it doesn't say that. These markets are totally unknown to me and trying to reach the sources has born no results. When we had a monthly street fair here in Oakland, what got to the back of the house was 50% good enough to bundle and take for supermarket programs; the other film was too greasy and had other forms of food contamination and went out with the garbage. Anybody got experience here?

7. I don't remember the source now but the report was that the percentage by weight of what didn't go to market from a clean MRF had increased dramatically in the last few years; like 7% to 25%. The blame fell obviously on the dumb consumer who sorted wrong but having staked out a clean MRF for another purpose and seeing into their work spaces, it was hard not to think that sloppy materials handling on the sort lines played a part in the escalating numbers.

Thank you for reading this and I welcome all feedback.

Arthur R. Boone
Center for Recycling Research, Berkeley
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