Rumpke Recycling is close to completing a major upgrade of its Dayton recycling plant this week. Rumpke takes in and processes about 350,000 tons of recycling per year in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and surrounding areas, from residential, commercial and municipal sources.
Combined single-stream recycling allows easier access for the people and companies tossing their goods in bins, but at the processing plant, every piece has to get sorted in order to create usable streams for actual reuse.
"This facility was processing around 25 tons an hour, but we opened our new Cincinnati plant last year and it processes 55 tons an hour," says Sara Cullin, communications coordinator for Rumpke.* The Dayton equipment upgrade, which is costing the company around $2.5 million, will allow for a major increase in capacity. Until recently, much of the sorting has been done by hand; new equipment allows for automatic sorting by size and material.
Rumpke employs around 200 people in Dayton, and the company's Dayton plant already includes an extensive facility for sorting and grinding glass bottles to sell to end-users who make fiberglass and other products. Paper is sorted and shipped out in bundles dependent on the quality and consistency.
I visited Rumpke to inquire about whether paper cups are recyclable for a story for Marketplace. Click the link for the conclusion on that—but know that according to Rumpke's David Schwendeman, "we're just a middle man."
CORRECTION: Sara Cullin is quoted as saying the Dayton plant processes 25 tons an hour. She says that is actually the number of tons of glass processed per hour at the glass plant; the Dayton plant's capability was 14 tons an hour.