New Multi-Part Series: Rockland Rocks at Recycling

_DSC0019 _DSC_0014Rockland County is home to one of the region’s most advanced waste management centers. Comprised of 11 facilities and six waste programs, the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority aims to provide residents and businesses with an efficient and environmentally friendly method of disposing of their waste.

Kerri Scales, Education Coordinator at the Authority, is dedicated to informing the county of the vast recycling and trash disposal services offered by the Authority. According to Scales, the Authority’s foremost challenge is simply the public’s lack of knowledge about the resources available to them. As such, the Rockland County Times is launching a multi-part series to help Rockland residents better understand the benefits of utilizing the Authority’s resources.

The Authority is made up of six different waste programs: recycling, household hazardous waste, composing, garbage transfer, concrete and asphalt, and biosolids composting. The services and benefits offered through these programs are vast. For example, the recycling program, housed at the Materials Recovery Facility in Hillburn, dumps, sorts and compacts enormous piles of unsorted materials into uniform cubes. These cubes of plastic, aluminum, paper and the like are then shipped nationwide to clients such as Coca Cola that use the materials to manufacture their products. At the Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Facility in Pomona, Rockland residents can dispose of old televisions, batteries, light bulbs, cleaning products and a variety of other household items. Future installments of this multi-part series will focus specifically on each of these programs.

Perhaps the most important aspect of running the Authority is spreading the word throughout Rockland County. To do so, the Authority frequently hosts field trips for local schools, during which time Scales and her team tell the students to pretend they are from the waste-ridden planet of “Argon.” The students are tasked with learning about Earth’s vast recycling programs and relaying that information back home to their families in Argon, where their newfound knowledge can help save their planet from desolation. The students learn valuable information, such as that it takes 20 times more energy to generate new aluminum than it does to recycle old aluminum cans.

Anna Roppolo, the Authority’s Executive Director, says “Such educational programs help recycling become common knowledge with children.” Children then pass that knowledge onto adults, who as a result are more likely to utilize the Authority’s resources. In fact, Roppolo initially discovered the Authority when her own daughter visited on a school trip several years ago.

According to Roppolo, spreading knowledge about the Authority’s programs is of utmost importance simply because “We have to take care of our Earth”. For more information, please visit the Authority’s website at www.rocklandrecycles.com. Be sure to check back next week for the next installment of Rockland Rocks at Recycling.