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Fort Worth adds to items that can be recycled

08/02/2012 11:29 PM

08/03/2012 12:34 AM

FORT WORTH -- The city is adding pizza boxes, paper beverage cartons and juice boxes, and pots and pans to its list of acceptable recyclable items.

Residents will get information about the changes in their water bills and other publicity within a month or so, but the items are acceptable now, said Kim Mote, Fort Worth's assistant director of environmental management.

Still, the city and its residential recycling hauler and handler, Waste Management, are asking residents to scrape cheese and tomato sauce off of their pizza boxes, which helps avert clogging of machinery at paper mills.

"That will be huge," said Brian Sims, general manager of Waste Management's Arlington recycling center, which handles all of Fort Worth's residential recycling.

The new center will likely add workers to handle the extra items, Sims said. Workers will continue to sort cardboard manually from a conveyor.

The center isn't adding new technology, Sims said. But Fort Worth is considering building a recycling center in the city, and the facility would have new sorting technology, Sims and Mote said.

Recycling technology has improved to the point that oil stains from food are a minor problem, Mote said.

The wax inside paper beverage containers had kept it off the recycling list, "but in small quantities, it can be mixed in there" with other paper products at the recycling facility, Sims said.

There's also increasing recycling demand from companies that make the cartons.

"There's a couple of companies that dominate the marketplace in making those things," said Steve Kellar, a Waste Management public sector manager in the region. "They're talking about how they can take those packages back in."

Residents should rinse those containers before recycling.

"Just a smidgen of water," Sims said. "We don't want them wasting the water."

Mote said residents should donate pots and pans in "usable" condition to charity before recycling them.

Pots and pans will be "the most intensive sort we have," Sims said. "We'll have to figure out a way to determine if they're steel or aluminum when they come through."

Beverage companies use a different kind of aluminum in cans, but there's demand from scrap steel and aluminum manufacturers for the metals in pots and pans, Sims said.

The city shares in the revenue generated by recycled products, but Waste Management and Mote said there are no projections on how much extra volume might be generated by adding the items.

Waste Management estimates that the Arlington facility takes in 12 million pounds of cardboard annually from Fort Worth's residential recycling.

The plant also serves Arlington and other cities.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

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