Correct recycling practices shield the surroundings — and recycling staff


As a part of Waste & Recycling Employees Week, MI Atmosphere highlights correct recycling practices to guard staff.

Correct recycling practices — as inspired by the Michigan Division of Atmosphere, Nice Lakes, and Vitality (EGLE) — should not solely good for the surroundings and economic system. They’re additionally essential for the security of people that work at any supplies restoration facility (MRF) all through the state the place objects positioned in recycling bins are sorted.

Simply ask Matt Van Benten, operations supervisor on the Useful resource Restoration and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC) MRF in Southfield.

“Security is large right here — it’s our No. 1 concern, and it’s our No. 1 drawback,” Van Benten mentioned as he sorted via a field of probably harmful objects that had been pulled from the MRF’s conveyor line, together with a bladed instrument, scissors and a cellphone.

“These are the sorts of issues we don’t need to see,” he mentioned. “There are houses for these, however your native recycling bin is just not it.”

The risks posed by sharp objects equivalent to blades and scissors are apparent — they will injure staff who’re sorting objects transferring down the MRF’s conveyor line. They’re significantly troublesome as a result of they’re typically hidden amongst materials equivalent to paper and plastic, Van Benten mentioned.

“You don’t know the place it’s,” he mentioned.

Digital gadgets equivalent to cellphones and previous laptops are a no-no as a result of they’re powered by lithium-ion batteries, which might explode when crushed or shaken.

“We’ve had explosions and fires right here attributable to issues like this,” Van Benten mentioned. “We’d wish to have the message on the market … this isn’t the way you cope with that. Please, do it the fitting manner.”

Info on correct disposal of family hazardous waste is obtainable on the EGLE Family Hazardous Waste Webpage.

Take a look at the accompanying video for extra recommendation from Van Benten on easy methods to assist maintain recycling staff secure.



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