By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – While an Elvis impersonator crooned nearby and barbecue aroma beckoned, Victoria Czapski of Rizzo Environmental Services greeted residents at Wednesday’s Farmers Market with a smile and information about citywide recycling.
Czapski, Community Education coordinator for the Sterling Heights-based waste and recycling company, offers free presentations children and adults, explaining what can be recycled, where it goes and the benefits of recycling.
Rizzo started serving Melvindale less that a year ago, and recently began operations in Taylor. They also serve Lincoln Park and Southgate.
Czapski said recycling saves natural resources and is an environmentally sound practice, and keeps waste out of landfills. She said Rizzo does not differentiate between the cost to process recycling versus landfill waste in Michigan.
She said Gov. Rick Snyder is looking at the economic impact of recycling in addition to the environmental benefits.
“There is a plastics recycler that they are actually looking for water bottles,” she said. “They don’t have enough to be sustainable, to actually maintain their business in Michigan because we are not recycling enough.”
She said statewide the recycling rate is 15.3 percent.
She said Rizzo collects recyclables and another vendor sorts the materials collected.
Czapski said older adults who once had to separate their recyclables are often surprised and pleased to learn that they can put all their recyclables in one bin, and they don’t, for example, have to scrape labels off glass jars.
She said shredded paper can be recycled if it is put in clear plastic bags, so it doesn’t blow around when recycling bin loads are dumped into the collection trucks.
Polystyrene foam is not accepted for recycling by all centers, and laminated paper cannot be recycled. Sometimes the insulation material in milk cartons render them difficult to recycle.
“Paper, plastic, metal and glass all goes to the curb,” she said. “Just make sure they are empty. You don’t want food to end up in there.”
She said recycling helps the economy in many ways besides the collection truck operators and the recycling stream sorters.
“If you have businesses that are looking for those plastic water bottles or those milk jugs because they want to make another product, you have to have someone build those machines,” she said. “You have to have someone come up with the idea.
“How are you going to take something and break it down and turn it into something new? What kind of compounds? There are a lot of jobs and job opportunities in this field.”
Some of the items that cannot be recycled include paper milk and juice cartons, garbage, propane tanks, paint cans, medical waste, flammable liquids, household cleaners, dry or liquid chemicals, wood items, yard waste, batteries, tires, concrete, garden hoses, polystyrene foam and electrical cords.
For more information, call 888-877-4996 or go to RizzoServices.com. To book a recycling talk, contact Czapski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at email@example.com.)