New recycling center reuses old building

Sunday, October 2, 2005

As a result of residents' requests, the center will soon begin collecting plastic bags.

Cape Girardeau's recycling center dropoff location at Broadview has moved to Southern Expressway, officially opening Saturday. While some residents complained of a farther drive, many of Saturday's visitors were pleased with the location and setup of the facility. The 36-by-72-foot wood and metal frame building is the same one that occupied the Broadview site. Over the spring, city crews dismantled the building to reconstruct it at the new location.

For Saturday's busy opening, people came in their cars and trucks, some filled to the brim, some with only a small contribution.

"I've never seen this many people," said Steve Smith, recycling driver for the city of Cape Girardeau.

Pam Sander, city of Cape Girardeau public works administrative officer, thinks the drive-through dropoff manned by an attendant is an important service for residents.

The option to drop off waste before scheduled curbside pickup also promotes recycling.

"It's a pretty good idea to do this. For me it's good because I don't like to burn," said Billy Wade of Cape Girardeau. He said he doesn't like to leave yard waste around his house because it detracts from the home's appearance. He felt Southern Expressway was a good location -- no traffic jams, and the wide one-way entrance and exit left plenty of room for several vehicles to back up to the dumpster and drop off at the same time. Although Wade was a little concerned with the number of bins for outside yard waste, he was assured that there were four more that had not yet been put into place.

The recycling process center was opened when curbside recycling started in 1991. A designated area in front for drive-through dropoffs was sometimes a little dangerous because of moving public works equipment, so in 1998, through an $80,000 grant from the department of natural resources and $10,000 backed by the city, a drive-through dropoff was constructed.

Long-range planning

Steve Cook, assistant public works director, explained that moving the recycling dropoff building is the result of long-range planning. The public was informed that the Broadview building would be moved at some future time because the surrounding buildings, built in the 1940s, were becoming obsolete. The understanding was that once public works moved, the new dropoff building would be taken apart and moved.

The office, restroom, landscaping, signage and electrical work on the building at Southern Expressway still need to be completed.

Inside there are 12 collection containers for glass; aluminum, steel and tin; junk mail and clean residential mixed paper; cardboard; plastic; newspapers, magazines and catalogs. Unacceptable items and acceptance guidelines are clearly marked on the containers. A doorway connects the recycling dropoff facility with the yet-unfinished processing plant.

Heading south on Sprigg Street, directions to the recycling center include making a right on Southern Expressway, continuing about three quarters of a mile, passing R.M. Coco and Cape LaCroix Creek. The center is on the left between the entrances to Corporate Circle.

Lenny Hellrich makes at trip to the recycling center every week. The Cape Girardeau resident thinks recycling is an important way of doing something for future generations, and when his children were living at home, it was a way of avoiding a charge for an extra trash can.

"Once you get in the habit, it's not so much work," he said.

On a business trip to Germany he had observed that European countries generate a small amount of trash, recycling a large portion of what we consider trash.

Within the next month, as a result of residents' requests, the center will begin collecting plastic bags. The exact date will be announced. Traditionally, once the city begins accepting a particular recyclable, they don't back down. They have recently attained a market for the bags. "The recycling center is an important diversion from landfills. It's important to reuse our resources," Cook said.

Hours of operation remain the same at the new 2007 Southern Expressway location: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday with summer hours, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, ending Oct. 29.

The public works department and alliance water resources have been operating from the new facility since mid-August. For more information regarding the new dropoff facility, call 334-9151.

335-6611, extension 133

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