Tallahassee, Florida - August 11, 2011 -
Where does trash like this go when it dies? Welcome to garbage heaven!
Or maybe it's more accurate to say that the tons of bottles, tree limbs, cardboard, sofas and soda cans are really reincarnated; coming back as something new.
My adventure as a Recycler started by suiting up in a bright shirt, gloves, earplugs and drier sheet? It will keep the gnats away from your face!
Nancy Paul is the manager here at Marpan's recycling facility just south of Tallahassee. She's the only woman here but says it's no problem. She had no problem putting me to work on what's called the C-line. All the stuff you toss in the recycle bin ends up here.
"Here we sort five tons a day through here," Paul says.
One tip- don't put them in plastic bags. It slows the process when you have to empty them and toss the bag in the trash bin.
I throw away the wrong thing every now and then!
Bottles with food still caked inside don't make the cut either. And don't put household garbage in the recycle bin. It's nasty!
Aunt Susie's lamp doesn't go here either!
I'll take this home, it's nice!
Some strange things have come down the line from a Gucci purse to live kittens!
"We have rescued three or four kittens," Paul says.
All were eventually adopted.
Next stop, the sorters. These guys voluntarily stand for hours each day in what amounts to a cage. Their hands are a blur as they separate a stream of plastic, metal and glass. Their work raining down into the right bins.
Marlon McClendon here says there's nothing to it once they get the music going. It frustrates him when he finds household trash on the line.
It was a completely different emotion the day he found a live snake!
So what happened when everybody saw the snake?
"It was a snake?" I got out of the way!" says Marlon McClendon, a recycling expert.
My next job? Rescuing sheets of old cardboard.
All that junk you put on the curb tumbles onto this conveyor belt and flows by an endless river of rejects rescued from the landfill.
CG:Nancy Paul , Gen. MGR. Marpan Recycling AT 2:08
"We recover 68 percent of everything that was going into the ground," Paul says.
It's hot on this line and you can work up a real thirst!
Tastes like champagne!
The guy right across from me is Bennie Everett, a veteran of both the Marine Corps and Coast Guard. He's living at the Veterans Village in Tallahassee right now, a place that helps vets get back on their feet. Nancy says he's a good worker. Bennie kind of liked my work ethic too, but wonders if I could keep it up all day!
"He did a great job but he needs to do an 8-hour day. Anybody can do it for 30 minutes!" says Bennie Everett, a recycling expert.
"He didn't miss much. You did miss a couple of cardboard pieces though!" Paul says.
The team here at Marpan doesn't miss much either. They sort through 250 tons a day and Nancy's proud of their accomplishments.
"I see this as the most sustainable business in Florida. I love the fact that we recover so much good stuff from things people throw away," Paul says.