From: Eureka Recycling
Published February 1, 2016 03:16 PM

Eureka Recycling Will Process their Billionth Pound of Recyclables

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, the one-billionth pound of recyclables will pass through Eureka Recycling’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Northeast Minneapolis. Stacked up a foot high by a foot wide, this amount of material would wrap around the earth over 1 and half times!    
Local non-profit Eureka Recycling opened the MRF in 2004 as a cornerstone demonstration of their zero waste mission, and in partnership with the City of Saint Paul to keep the City’s recycling program affordable and meet their environmental goals. “Recycling simply works,” says Susan Hubbard, Past CEO and co-founder and currently a strategist with Nothing Left to Waste. “and Eureka Recycling is proof that if you value doing it in a way that takes care of people, our local economy, and our environment it becomes a part of a zero waste strategy, an authentic solution to many of the challenges we are facing today.” 
“With this milestone we’re celebrating the work of Eureka staff, our partners, and the cities we work with,” explains co-president Bryan Ukena. “We also want to applaud and thank the hundreds of thousands of people in the Twin Cities area who recycle. Their seemingly small daily actions add up to have a large impact if you look at the numbers.”

]A Community Effort: Eureka Recycling’s drivers have collected half of that billion pounds (the rest was delivered to Eureka’s MRF by other haulers), representing the recycling from about 33 million individual blue bins set at the curb and 5 million multi-family dwelling carts in the cities Eureka Recycling has collected in over the past 12 years.

Local Economy: Out of the billion pounds recycled at Eureka Recycling’s MRF, 480 million pounds have been recycled back into new products in Minnesota, supporting our state’s robust recycling economy! For instance, paper and cardboard from this MRF is recycled back into boxboard at WestRock (formerly known as RockTenn) in Saint Paul, and is back on the shelf as a new cereal box in less than four weeks.

Living-Wage Jobs:  Currently Eureka Recycling employs over 80 people. Our drivers have been unionized since 2010, and all employees, including sorters in the MRF, are paid a living wage with benefits (counter to standard practice in the industry). Since this facility opened in 2004 we have paid $49,261,676 in salaries and benefits for good, green, local jobs. (If those billion pounds of material were thrown in the trash, it would have required one-tenth the amount of jobs to manage it.)

Environmental & Community Health Benefit: Recycling this amount of material has the same impact towards mitigating climate change as the carbon sequestered by planting 28,071,109 trees that grow for ten years. In addition, based on MEB Calc (Morris Environmental Benefits Calculator) as a community we has saved $351,929,866 by reducing the environmental and human health impacts that would of occurred had this material been wasted.

“Eureka has established a model recycling program for the nation,” explained Monica Wilson with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative. “It’s very different for a MRF to do more than just move materials in and out and make the most money possible. To use the MRF as a laboratory for Zero Waste, to look at what’s left in our trash, how to prevent waste in the first place, examine product design, pay living wages and benefits in a competitive industry, examine the justice issues at play in how we reach our environmental goals…these innovations are what make Eureka Recycling a leader and are the real reasons to celebrate this exciting milestone.”
 “Waste is completely preventable,” says Tim Brownell, co-president and co-founder. “Recycling won’t get us to Zero Waste, but we won’t get there without it. We know that when people see how this all works in our facility they come to understand the impacts of recycling in a new way. To that end, we will be offering limited public tours this spring, and we’re working on a “virtual tour” video that we will release in the coming weeks.” 

 Follow Eureka Recycling on Facebook and Instagram, sign up for the newsletter, or check back to their website for more information:

Photo Opportunities: 
Tuesday, February 2 – 12:30pm, Eureka Recycling: 2828 Kennedy Street NE, Minneapolis

  • Mourssalou Boukari,a Eureka Recycling driver who delivered some of the first pounds to our facility in 2004, driving the truck over the scale and dumping the billionth pound onto the tip floor.
  • Photos of people who have worked as sorters in Eureka Recycling’s MRF since it opened, near stacks of “bales” (materials that have been sorted and compacted into large cubes that are ready to be sent to end markets to be recycled into new products)
  • The Pile” on the tip floor – up to 250 tons of material that is the aggregate of all the recycling collected by our drivers and other recyclers each day.

Contact Info: Lynn Hoffman, Chief of Community Engagement - 651.270.7071

Website : Eureka Recycling

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