With an emphasis on preserving the planet through technology, Alpine Waste & Recycling says it hosted a group of social media influencers—people who have a wide following on their social media accounts—at its recycling plant in Denver April 22.
The Carton Council, a Denton, Texas-based nonprofit that aims to educate the public about the importance of recycling cartons, organized the event.
Alpine says it was the first recycling company in the state to offer carton recycling and the first in the state to implement an artificial-intelligence robot to help sort those cartons.
“The more people who understand the way we process these materials, the more probable it is that we will be able to operate in the most efficient, productive manner,” says Brent Hildebrand, the vice president of recycling for Alpine.
The six social media gurus from around the Denver area and as far away as Pine, Colorado, spent several hours at the plant asking questions about what can and can’t be recycled, the innovations Alpine has incorporated into its sorting process and what the future holds for recycling.
Alpine says some of the questions included:
- “What should people do if their cartons don’t have recycling logos on them? Are they still recyclable?” (Answer: Most likely, yes; the Carton Council is trying to persuade the carton-manufacturing industry to include those logos as often as possible.)
- “Should we crush the cartons before putting them into recycling bins, or just leave them in their natural form?” (Answer: The recycling process works best if the cartons are not crushed, because the robot can recognize them more easily.)
- “What do I do if I don’t have carton-recycling available to me through my service or in my area?” (Answer: Contact your municipality, your homeowner’s association, your waste hauler or whomever might help make the service available. Alternatively, you can even mail the material to recycling plants that accept cartons.)
“This event gave us another perspective on the issues connected with recycling,” says Wendy Fauth, Alpine’s recyclable materials manager. “It’s good for us to know what the general public is thinking and what it’s going to take for us to educate everybody.”
Alpine Waste & Recycling, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ontario, Canada-based GFL Environmental Inc., recently completed a $2.5 million expansion and upgrade of its plant, which the company says increased its recycling speed by 33 percent.
New equipment at the plant includes a metering bin at the front of the processing line, a second ballistic separator, a second optical sorter, a four-deck cardboard screen and 15 new belts from Machinex of Plessisville, Canada.
Alpine handles more than 400,000 tons of waste and recycle products per year.