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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Unfortunately, the virus is still with us and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. So I've compiled  a few items from the Resource Recycling newsletter on some of the things it is affecting in the recycling effort.

First off, some of the help our federal government is giving during the virus: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  has released a fact sheet to help keep garbage and recycling industry workers safe during the pandemic. The fact sheet contains steps employees and employers can use to prevent the spread of the virus. The information was produced at the request of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA).

Next, I found one company that normally uses its 3D printer to make parts for optical sorters and other recycling machinery is now using the technology to make mask straps that help out health care workers. It’s an around-the-clock effort to make “ear savers,” an item which makes the wearing face masks for long periods more comfortable.

The company, which can produce 75 of them a day, is currently printing hundreds to donate to local health care workers. The effort started when they found a local 13-year-old was using his 3D printer to make eight during a 17-hour day.

Now to an aluminum recycling and rolling company which has also felt the effects of COVID-19. In the current year, they used 2.17 million tons of recycled aluminum, compared with 2.19 million tons of recycled aluminum the previous year. This included 74 billion used beverage cans — so don’t stop recycling your aluminum cans.

The company has 12 recycling plants in 22 manufacturing facilities worldwide —  eight are  in North America.

Finally for today, some brief recycling related items:

1) Due to the coronavirus, the International Compost Awareness Week had stakeholders sharing information via online platforms rather than in-person events.

2) The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and plastic product manufacturer Glad started a Sanitation Workers Support Fund, to provide financial assistance to collection workers impacted by COVID-19.

3) Routing software company RecycleGO coordinated with the Mask Force NYC coronavirus equipment supply campaign to supply N95 masks to health care providers and other essential service workers in New York City.

4) The Bureau of International Recycling started a coordination team to harmonize the group’s actions related to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on recycling.

5) The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) thanked the federal Surface Transportation Board for decisions to reduce railroad demurrage costs.

6) A robotics company reported its robotic sorting systems processed 1 billion recyclables over the 12 months.

7) The Mattress Recycling Council reported 6 million mattresses were recycled during the past 5 years.

That’s it for today. So until next week, do have an enjoyable, safe and healthy one.


Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666