Officials take tour of Republic Services Material Recovery Facility

Republic tour 3

Republic Services Leadership Trainee Megan Sexton (center) gives Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler a tour of Republic’s Material Recovery Facility in Hazelwood, Mo. on Friday with Planning and Development Deputy Administrator Chris Doucleff and Sustainability Coordinator Andrea Campbell Yancey. Madison County and City of Collinsville officials took the tour of the facility that recycles 300 tons of material daily.

June 28, 2019

Officials take tour of Republic Services Material Recovery Facility 

EDWARDSVILLE — Officials were able to see first-hand how recycling is done for Madison County residents. 

“It was really exciting to see what happens behind the scenes,” Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said. 

Prenzler, along with nearly a dozen people toured the Republic Services Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Hazelwood, Mo. on Friday. Those who attended the event included: Madison County Planning and Development’s Deputy Administrator Chris Doucleff, Sustainability Coordinator Andrea Campbell Yancey and Outreach Assistant Brandon Banks, along with Collinsville Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Derek Jackson, Collinsville Senior Planner Travis Taylor, Chair of Collinsville Planning Commission Scott Rayho, Chair of the Collinsville Cool Cities Committee Stephanie Malench and Shara Toennies volunteer at Willoughby Farms. 

The tour included a 45-minute presentation by Republic Services Leadership Trainee Megan Sexton, followed by a guided walk through of the recycling facility. 

Sexton said that Republic Services handles 90 percent of the recycling in the St. Louis region. Republic Services operates 82 recycling centers across the country. 

She said there are two types of recycling collection — single stream and multi-stream — however, the majority of the United States is single-stream recycling. 

“Single-stream recycling is where all recyclables are placed in the same bin and sorted at the facility,” Sexton said. 

She said various companies purchase the material once it has been sorted. 

“Mohawk Carpet is made from recycled bottles and its one of our biggest clients,” she said. 

Sexton said she couldn’t emphasize enough the process for recycling. 

“We don’t want to push people away from recycling, we just want to educate to get people on board,” she said. “There is a right way and a wrong way to recycle.” 

Prenzler asked about items that can be recycled versus the ones that cannot. 

“I know there are certain ‘rules’ so to speak about what is good and bad to recycle,” Prenzler said. 

Sexton said that is true. She said the various items that are recyclable include paper bags, newspaper, aluminum cans, bottles _— glass and plastic — and cardboard. She said the items placed in a recycling bin should be empty, clean and dry. 

“Don’t put containers in other containers,” she said. “Don’t bag your recycling materials either. Keep it loose.” 

Items that are not accepted for recycling include plastic bags, polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, plastic utensils, Tyvek envelopes, chip bags and candy wrappers. 

Sexton said that food containers such as cardboard pizza boxes with food or oily residue should not be recycled. 

“I know there are a lot of rules for recycling, but remember ‘If in doubt, throw it out,’” she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve received all kinds of things here.” 

She said that they use a term “wish” cycling for those individuals who dispose of items in the recycling bin that should have never been. Republic has received items such as a whole cow, an inactive missile, a claw foot tub, deer parts, mannequins and more. 

“These are things people wish they could recycle and so it ends up here,’” she said. “Republic recently hired an auditor to look into the commercial accounts of items that are placed in recycling bins that never should have been.” 

The Hazelwood MRF recycles more than 300 tons daily. They sell the recycled commodities and haul the trash to the Roxana Landfill. 

Prenzler asked how China’s decision to stop taking recycled paper affected production in the United States. 

Sexton said it did hurt business and an area MRF shut down last fall because of the change. 

“We pay $20 a ton to get rid of it ever since China shut off the world,” Sexton said. “We are flooded with supply and no demand.” 

Prenzler said he enjoyed the tour and one thing he found interesting was 1 out of 4 items placed in recycling is actually trash. 

“We need to do a better job in what we put in the recycling bin,” he said. 

Visit to find out more information on what and how to recycle the right way. Residents who do not have curbside recycling visit to find out where you can take recyclable items for drop off.