April 26, 2010
Six months of increased recycling with the new Bottle Bill
DeWitt (WSYR-TV) - The expansion of the Bottle Bill has brought in millions of dollars to the state and caused a local recycling business to grow.
The mountains of plastic keep growing at the Tomra recycling plant in DeWitt and Operations Manager Dave Pangaro says it is increasingly in the form of water bottles. The plant has hired five more people to handle the increase and has staggered shifts to make sure the warehouse doesn't get buried in plastic. "We were anticipating it to double our volume but we were projecting it to happen in the summer when people drink more and buy more water for picnics and this really started to come in around March and then the beginning of April we started to see it so it happened a little earlier," Pangaro said.
Tomra's business has doubled since last fall. "We do have some redemption centers that are giving us roughly 100 bags a week at certain locations and these are competing with the Coke and Pepsi numbers of plastic coming in, so the water is making the stamp," said Pangaro.
All of the plastic is collected in bags and then shredded into little pieces before being packed into special containers and loaded into tractor trailers. Three or four now leave full of plastic each week, where it used to be just one or two.
Supporters of the bill say there's still plenty of room to grow six months after the updated bill, citing things like a learning curve as people get used to the deposit concept on water bottles.
Pangaro says by the summer he expects to be shipping four loads of shredded plastic or more a week consistently. If business keeps that pace, he says they may have to begin looking for a bigger space.