Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What happens to UIC's paper when it leaves UIC?

The Office of Sustainability took a field trip last Friday to Recycling Services, Inc. This is where all the paper and cardboard that the UIC community puts in the recycling bins and out for collection goes. First of all UIC's rearend packers are filled with material collected from all our buildings around campus. When the truck is full it is driven down to the facility, where the truck is weighed full (gross weight). Then the materials are dumped onto the tipping floor. After that the truck is weighed (tare weight) and the net weight of material delivered is calculated:
Net weight = gross weight-tare weight
The paper is then "graded" - ours is usually Unsorted Office Paper (UOP) or Other Corrogated Cardboard (OCC). This determines how much the university will be paid for the material. Currently prices for these commodities are good. Funds from the "sale" of our UOP and OCC help support the recycling collection on campus.

The UOP is fed onto the conveyor to be sorted - cardboard is removed since it is generally in bigger pieces than paper it can be separated automatically. There is also manual sorting to pull out contamination from plastic bags and other waste. Afterwards, the paper is compressed into bales. They are shipped to Menashe, WI and made into paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

Cardboard is placed into a separate baler and compressed into about 1/10 its original volume. Bales are shipped out to Menashe, WI where they are recycled into more cardboard.

This facility processes over 10,000 tons/month of which about 70 tons/month comes from UIC.

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