Rumpke receives state grant to expand local recycling efforts

Rumpke of Indiana’s efforts to increase recycling in Jackson County and southern Indiana recently received a boost from a $1 million state initiative to benefit the environment while creating jobs.

The company, which operates the Medora Landfill, plans to use an $87,425 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Recycling Market Development Program to construct a 5,540-square-foot pad with an enclosure to protect a horizontal baler.

The grant, one of eight recently announced by the state, requires a 50 percent match, and Rumpke plans to provide the baler with an in-feed conveyor and a compactor unit with a receiver box, landfill manager Ralph Collins said.

The project will allow the company to remove cardboard collected from commercial and residential customers in Jackson County, bale it and send it into companies that deal in the cardboard market.

At the present time, the cardboard and other recyclables collected by the company are taken to the landfill and then loaded on trucks that are then sent to the company’s recycling center in Cincinnati, Collins said.

“This streamlines the transportation of our recycling,” he said. “We send one or two loads a day to Cincinnati.”

Once the cardboard is out of the waste stream, the remainder of the recyclables, including glass and plastics, will continue to be sent to Cincinnati for sorting and then on to other companies for reuse.

Collins said recycling plays a big part in the company’s goal of keeping waste out of landfills.

“We’re the third or fourth largest company in the country in terms of recycling,” he said.

At the present time, Rumpke provides curbside recycling services to Brownstown, Crothersville and Seymour. The residents of those communities pay for that service along with their trash collection bills.

Brownstown residents pay $3.50 a month, while Seymour residents pay $3 a month. Crothersville residents pay $9.50 a month for trash collection and recycling services. Medora residents are able to recycle through a drop-box program.

Collins said Rumpke is in the process of offering similar recycling services to its customers throughout the county, and the hope is to eventually expand the service to Rumpke customers in surrounding counties.

He said the new service will have a cost for rural customers, but that amount was not available Wednesday.

The company hopes to get started on the cardboard baling area this spring once the grant is officially released by the state, Collins said.

That center could eventually create the need for more employees if recycling efforts in rural areas catches on, Collins said. The landfill employs more than 20 people.

The state’s Recycling Market Development Program was established in the early 1990s to better manage solid waste by developing markets for recycling. Municipalities, nonprofit organizations and public and private businesses located and doing business in Indiana are eligible to apply for funding. Eligible candidates may seek a grant starting at $1,000 and up to $500,000, with a 50 percent required match.

Read the story in Thursday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.