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UPDATE: Mosinee picking through garbage to educate about recycling, savings

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UPDATE:  Marathon County Solid Waste Director Meleesa Johnson reported Tuesday night that of the 6,020 pounds of trash sorted, 1,195 pounds of that or nearly 20% of the material was recycleable.  That means Mosinee saved $19.00 on that 1/4 truckload of trash.  A rough estimate based on two garbage routes once a week, Mosinee could save $7,904 dollars a year on landfill costs plus gain from marketing certain recyclable products for reuse.  Their 1,300/ton per year average could drop to 1,040/ton per year.

MOSINEE, WI (WSAU) -  Mosinee residents and officials are learning just how well they are... or are not doing in managing their solid waste. Tuesday morning, a joint effort between the city, Mosinee High School’s Green Team, the Department of Natural Resources, and waste hauler IROW, and Marathon County Solid Waste Department sorted some of today’s collected trash. What they found is residents could be doing better. 6,020 pounds of trash was dumped on a parking lot, and everyone picked through it.

City Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Jamroz is looking for ways to help Mosinee and it’s taxpayers save money, because they pay by the ton to deposit garbage at the landfill. Jamroz says he got the idea for sorting a sample from a recent DNR meeting... “One of the members that was there discussed putting together a waste sort. They had done it in the past so we thought it might be a neat idea to check to see what kind of recycling numbers our community is doing. We’ve always been good recyclers, and we wanted to see how much recycling is actually going to our landfill.”

High School Green Team member Bridgett Walters was amazed at some of the things they found, from recyclable cardboard, bottles, paper, and even some things that could have been donated. “A lot of clothing gets thrown away too, which is really sad, because we found a lot of clothing that actually could have been donated to Goodwill and places like that, but it will help with this survey to record so we can tell the community what they should be doing with their trash instead of what they’re doing now.”

Cynthia Moore from the DNR says keeping recyclables out of the landfill and back into the marketplace saves money two ways... first in the cost of using the landfill, and also because discarded materials like plastic bottles have value. “Just from the plastics, we estimate that the amount of recyclables going to the landfill have a market value of about $64,000,000 dollars.

Anna McCabe from the DNR says organic materials like food scraps don’t need to go to the landfill, as they can be composted in your backyard or in special containers. Seeing the various items thrown away, McCabe is hoping they can use the information to target educational efforts to keep these items out of the waste stream.

Meleesa Johnson from the Marathon County Solid Waste Department says it all comes down to one thing. Recycling saves resources and money because the less you put in the landfill, the less it costs everyone.

She says there is also a program that collects unusable rechargeable batteries for remanufacturing new batteries.

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