Rock Disposal will handle city's switch to single-stream recycling in October
Single-stream recycling—mixing paper, plastic, glass and other recyclables in one bin—will be new for Janesville residents in October, but Rock Disposal has been sorting mixed recyclables for years.
JANESVILLE Single-stream recycling—mixing paper, plastic, glass and other recyclables in one bin—will be new for Janesville residents in October, but Rock Disposal has been sorting mixed recyclables for years.
Rock Disposal has been processing Janesville's recyclables since December and has been sorting single-stream recycling for years. The company was formed in 2003 and in 2008 built a $1.5 million facility on Townline Road between Janesville and Beloit to handle single-stream recyclables and to transfer garbage.
"It was a big deal," said Robert Klimoski, a Rock Disposal owner. "It was expensive. It took a lot of engineering and a lot of equipment in a small place."
The switch to single-stream recycling for Janesville residents happens in October, when the city begins automated trash and recycling pickup. Residents will get new wheeled carts—one for trash and one for recyclables.
The equipment the city will be using until October works best with sorted recyclables, so city officials are asking residents to continue separating through September, said Peter Riggs, Janesville's assistant operations director.
The city also gets a better rate for its paper if it is kept separate, said John Whitcomb, operations director.
Whitcomb expects more people to recycle after the city switches to single-stream recycling. In other cities, the volume of recycled goods has increased 20 percent to 25 percent after people were no longer required to separate items. The higher volume should make up for the lower price of paper not separated from other recyclables.
The city likely will recycle 4,000 tons this year, Riggs said. The city sells its recyclable material to Rock Disposal by the ton. Besides earning the city money, recycling adds years to the landfill.
The city signed a five-year contract with Rock Disposal, replacing Waste Management as the processor of the city's recycling.
Much of the recycled material is sent overseas, including a large amount of cardboard, Klimoski said.
The company has about 2,500 commercial customers and nine community contracts, including Footville, the town of Turtle and the town of Center. Janesville is the only Rock Disposal client that does its own pickup.
Klimoski has been involved in recycling since 1986, and he helped develop Fitchburg's first recycling program.
People initially resisted recycling but not so much anymore, he said.
"A lot of people are conscious of their environmental footprint," Klimoski said.
Based on his experiences in other communities, Klimoski predicted Janesville residents will embrace automated pickup and single-stream recycling.
The carts are easy to roll and are more attractive than the variety of containers people put at the curb now, he said.
"Even the cities look better," Klimoski said.
"You see all the containers instead of the piles of trash at each house."
Klimoski said he puts a premium on keeping his facility tidy, as well.
What does Klimoski see for the future of recycling?
He predicted people would find more ways to get more material out of the waste stream, including more sophistication in dealing with construction demolition.
As the value of recycled materials increases, Klimoski believes people will begin mining landfills for material dumped years ago.