Recycling processes on display

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On Nov. 14, All Points Recycling hosted an open house and community luncheon at its processing facility, which is located off of Highway 112 at Hilltop south of Cassville.

"We opened All Points Recycling in April of 2006, and in June of 2008, we leased this building," said Leslie Smith, who serves as vice president and co-owns the business with her mother, Brenda Fletcher. "Our goals and dreams for this business have been exceeded by over 10 times."

Smith led groups of over 50 community members in tours around the processing center during the open house event. Fletcher, who serves as president of the business, assisted with equipment demonstrations.

Smith was also assisted by her sister, Stacy Runnels, who is the All Points Recycling office manager, and Fletcher's sister-in-law, Bobbi Vanzandt, who is in charge of the business's logistics.

"We accept shredded or unshredded newspaper and plastics #1 through #7.

said Smith. "The recycling grade of a plastic can be found by locating the recycling symbol on the plastic. The number in the middle of the symbol is the grade."

All Points Recycling also accepts magazines, office paper and steel and aluminum cans.

"We don't pay for cans or steel," said Smith. "We take those out to Slinkard's, and they bring their plastics to us. We collect a bag or two of cans each week."

Local residents can also bring Styrofoam, including egg cartons, take-out boxes, coffee cups and other food containers to the business's processing center. The business has processed over 32,000 pounds of Styrofoam since June.

"All Styrofoam, cans and plastic containers must be rinsed out and clean," said Smith. "If they aren't, they will get stinky and draw flies."

Although most recyclable items must be dropped off at the All Points Recycling processing center, the business does run a weekly cardboard route that picks up cardboard at around 20 Cassville businesses.

"We accept corrugated and chip cardboard," said Smith. "We don't take cardboard that has any wax on it or is wax impregnated like some of the local industries use. They are going away from that though.

"Our cardboard pickup that we do on Tuesdays collects between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of cardboard each week," said Smith. "We will also take chip cardboard, like cereal boxes, from individuals."

Cardboard, super stacks, plastic film, foam, plastic webbing and other industrial materials are bailed at the processing center using a large machine that Smith referred to as "Bertha Baler."

All Points Recycling employees Trent Vanzandt, Ty Stephens and Trisha Botson demonstrated how the baling machine works during the open house event.

"The baler has a 45-second cycle from the time you shut the gate and turn it on," said Smith. "The webbing that we collect condenses a lot. We collect four or five totes before we bale the material and then we only get a bale that is between 600 and 700 pounds. We also collect and bale plastic strapping."

During the tour, community members also watched demonstrations involving "Gerta Grinder," a machine that grinds hard plastics, like those used in car parts, and "Helga Heger," a densifier used to compact Styrofoam into log-shaped pieces that are easier to ship.

"The plastic that we grind up is sold back to the recycling mill and turned back into material that is made into other car parts," said Runnels.

"We grind the material to three-eighths of an inch but the machine can grind to any size that you want per the customer need," said Smith. "We grind to this size, because it is the size we need to get the most product into the super sacks."

Recyclable materials are baled, ground, densified and stored at the processing center until All Points Recycling collects enough materials to fill a truck and transport the materials to a recycling mill. A truck must be nearly full to justify the costs associated with transporting the materials to the plant.

"With Christmas time coming, when you are opening up packages, think about recycling," said Smith. "There are a lot of products in your home that can be recycled when you start thinking about it. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle."

All Points Recycling is a member of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, the Arkansas Recycling Coalition, the Missouri Recycling Association, the National Recycling Coalition and the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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