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Greening Steps

Recycling Audit: Is Your Program Right for You?

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When is the last time you reviewed your recycling program? If it’s been more than three or four years, it may be time to take a fresh look. Like so many businesses today, recycling is always changing and improving. There may be new equipment or technology that you could be taking advantage of to make your program more efficient and cost-effective. Recycling commodities are also expanding. Materials that were once non-recyclable may now have a market.

 

Chances are, like the recycling industry, your business has changed over the past few years as well. Those changes may have affected your packing or waste stream. Today more than ever, we see companies taking advantage of alternative uses for materials rather than sending them to the landfill. These options may not have been available when you put your recycling program in place. Re-evaluating your plan may bring to light new possibilities that could make the whole program more cost-effective and efficient.

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Midwest Fiber: More than Recycling

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Brokerage Brings Advantage

It’s no surprise when you work with Midwest Fiber, you’ll get a recycling plan specially designed for your business and has a great return on your time and investment in the program. But Midwest Fiber does far more than collect your recycled goods. In addition to assessment, consultation, and collection, Midwest Fiber also has a dedicated staff focusing on direct mill brokerage. We have found a unique position in the market to help our large volume generators of recycling get the best value for their materials. Combined with the total material generated in our own plants, we have greater leverage to get a higher value on your paper and plastic sales. While traditional brokers work from an office or home buying and selling, Midwest Fiber is a processor as well, giving us the unique ability to sell direct, increasing your financial return. 

 

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Recycling: Back to Basics

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Although Americans have been recycling since the 1960s, many questions and misconceptions surround the subject. The fact is, paper, cardboard, aluminum, tin, and plastics are vital materials for manufacturing around the world. When you take advantage of your business's recycling program, your recycling contractor collects them, sorts and processes them, and then helps them find their way to a manufacturing facility. Companies purchase these recycled materials to make new products, which are sent back into the stream of consumer goods.

 

Without collecting these commodities and reusing them to create new products, the supply chain would have to rely on virgin materials. Raw materials, like trees and bauxite ore, from which aluminum is made, usually have a higher cost to collect, process, and convert to a finished product and consume a lot more energy to convert. Using recycled materials can lower the manufacturing costs and, in turn, the cost to consumers. Not to mention saving precious natural resources.

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Recycling During the Holidays

Did you know that the month of December holds record high recycling tonnages in curbside programs?

 

As people shop for Christmas gifts, receive packages in the mail, and prepare meals for family gatherings, recyclable packaging becomes abundant in the forms of cardboard boxes, chipboard, plastic bottles, and more!

 

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Recycling at Thanksgiving Dinner

Ah, the excitement of Thanksgiving dinner with the family!

 

Everyone gathered around the table enjoying each other’s company, delicious food, and the cheer of the season. If it’s your turn to host the meal, that can be particularly enjoyable! However, it can also induce moments of stress.

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America Recycles Day Photo Contest

If you're looking for something fun for the kids to do at home, or if you want to encourage recycling education in the workplace, nothing spiffs up a recycling program like an adorable mascot!

 

In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15th, Midwest Fiber Recycling is hosting a Pet Green Hero Photo Contest! 

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How to Start a Recycling Program

Starting a business recycling program is easy, but where do you begin?

 

The phrase, “the devil is in the detail,” came from somewhere.

 

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Consumer Behavior and Recycling

Consumer behavior is commonly defined as the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.

 

Whether we realize it or not, biases impact the way we select, use, and dispose of products.

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Recycling at Thanksgiving

When Thanksgiving comes around, the excitement of holiday festivities floods the air as turkey cooks in the oven and friends and family spend time together.

 

And nothing compares to the excitement of hosting a Thanksgiving meal, whether at home or the office. However, with more people around, there's naturally more waste generated than usual.

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Recycling Opportunities Expand in Champaign-Urbana

Midwest Fiber Recycling is excited to announce the acquisition of Community Resource Inc. (CRI) in Urbana, IL; a sales agreement combining two companies' capabilities, knowledgeable teams, and customized recycling services.

 

Midwest Fiber was excited to purchase the operation from Matt Snyder, who began CRI with its recycling services to commercial and industrial customers in 1996. Known for its flexible services and knowledgeable staff, CRI uses a combination of company-owned hauling equipment and contracted carriers across the United States to ship approximately 1,500 truckloads of recyclables each year!

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Wishful Recycling

"Wishful Recycling Threatens Single-stream Process." This article posted by NPR from Illinois State University focuses on an increasingly relevant topic in the realm of recycling. Just how much does contamination matter, and how does it affect the recycling process?

 

Similar to the 1989 film drama, Field of Dreams, the idea that “If you build it, they will come” manifests itself as wishful recycling. When presented with hard-to-recycle items, the general thought is “If I put it in the bin, it will get recycled.”

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Cardboard Recycling Tips

For a material that can save 9 cubic yards of landfill space for each ton that's recycled, cardboard is also a highly sought commodity in the scrap market!

 

However, just generating a lot of cardboard doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting the best value for your material. The price that recyclers pay for cardboard will be influenced by the following:

 

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Steps to a Greener Party

I recently had the pleasure of throwing a party at my home for my son's first birthday. We all know a first birthday party is really for the parents to celebrate keeping their sanity during the first year, but I digress. I have thrown many parties before, so I am a seasoned veteran of most green things you can do for a party. For example: I have washable plastic plates, reusable silverware, re-usable table cloths, recycle bins, drinks that are served in re-usable glasses, and other beverages that come in recyclable containers. Rarely is there much waste at a party at my house.

 

Now, did I mention that this birthday party was HUGE? I have never had 65 people at my house for a party before. Nor did I ever have to figure in the catering fiasco. Does the chicken really have to come in a paper box that I can't recycle due to grease? Why does the shredded beef have to be shrink-wrapped in plastic? And don't forget the "mom factor". This refers not to me but to my mom who can find a way to get involved in anything. She did find some awesome pop-up recycle bins that we were able to use in various places in the yard and garage (and are reusable for future parties I might add). But she also wanted heavy duty paper plates, plastic silverware, and way more paper napkins than I will use in a lifetime.

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Why a Once-Used Box?

Whether you’re shopping online and having items shipped to you, mailing products to a customer, or moving materials from one location to another, you’re probably going to run across (but hopefully not trip over) a cardboard box!

 

 

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Why a baler?

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

You receive a large package of company supplies in the mail, and now have the task of making sure the cardboard box finds its way to the recycle bin/dumpster. You walk to the dumpster, open the lid, and discover that yours wasn’t the only cardboard box that the business received in the past week.

 

In fact, there isn’t any more room for your rather bulky item, so you flatten it as best you can, and cram it in the largest space available. Your good deed completed for the day, you venture back into the office to tackle the next project.

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Organizing after the New Year

For many people, beginning the New Year brings the desire to start with a clean slate when it comes to clutter.

 

Somehow, it doesn’t seem right to leave last year’s mess for this year, so commonly pursued resolutions are to clean out, de-clutter, purge, and so on. There’s nothing like starting new projects and tasks with a clean and organized work space!

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2016 Recycling Totals

As Central Illinois’ largest full-service recycler serving areas including Bloomington IL, Champaign IL, Decatur IL, Peoria IL, Springfield IL, and Terre Haute IN, Midwest Fiber Recycling specializes in helping our customers reduce waste costs, increase efficiencies, and maximize dollars earned on recyclable materials.

How much material was recycled at Midwest Fiber in 2016?

Because of the excellent work that businesses and municipalities continue to display with their recycling programs, we are excited to report 325,882,000 pounds of materials recycled in 2016! The commodities were shipped to mills around the world and used to make new products. Plastic water bottles become carpet, milk jugs turn into plastic decking, and fiber is made into a variety of paper products.

 

What would over 300 Million pounds of material look like?

This is an amount of material that could completely cover 100 football fields, and fill an entire football stadium from bottom to dome. Thanks to your recycling initiatives, it was all kept out of the landfill!

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Recycling at Christmas

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas as lights illuminate neighborhoods, decorations emerge in store windows, and families make plans for the holidays?

 

Communities surge with activity as people venture out to find the perfect gift for loved ones, prepare for family gatherings, and celebrate the season.

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Tracking a Recycling Program

When a business begins a recycling program, the decision is usually spurred in part by one or more of the following factors:

  1. A relatively large portion of a company’s waste stream is composed of recyclable material that could bring in revenue or reduce waste cost when processed in an efficient manner.
  2. Waste costs are increasing with combined hauling and landfill fees.
  3. A business has green initiatives and wants a recycling program to be the hub of various sustainable goals throughout the workplace.

 

These factors require a call-to-action, and after a recycling company is consulted to help initiate and maintain a customized service, the process begins.

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The Christmas Tree

This past weekend, my husband and I packed up the baby and went to the tree nursery to pick out the perfect tree for our Victorian home. We walked in the semi-heated outdoor tent where we could get the Fraser Fir of our Christmas dreams. The fragrance kind of hits you in the face when you walk in those places don't it? It certainly seemed to impress our 18 month old who proudly proclaimed "woooow" when he saw the trees.

 

We found our tree, paid for it, and went home to set it up. After about 10 minutes of our son being afraid to go near the tree, he then proceeded to bat at it with his plush baseball bat. Apparently it was not cool with him that the tree was set up in his toy area. After that fiasco was over we noticed another pungent smell that hits you in the face.

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Brutal wars over natural resources, including timber and minerals, have killed or displaced more than 20 million people and are raising at least $12 billion a year for rebels, warlords, and repressive governments. Recycling eases the demand for the resources.