A Tour of Trash – Recycling in Kodiak



Threshold Director Ken Reinke contemplates some of the recyclables at Von Sheele Way facility. He says Kodiakers can do a better job of taking "resources" out of their trash. Briann Gibbs photo

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

Ever wonder where recycling on Kodiak goes? KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs asked Threshold Recycling Services Director Ken Reinke and found out just what happens to the garbage ones it leaves the average home.

It all begins with a plastic bottle — or a tin can, or a piece of paper. Whatever it is, and wherever it begins, if you ask Ken Reinke, it should end with him.

You may not know him, and he may not know you, but believe it or not Reinke has probably handled your trash. As director of Threshold Recycling Services, Reinke and his crew sort thousands of pounds of community garbage each month. If you pull up to the recycling center on Von Scheele Way, you might have glimpse of one of them, right before you chuck your bag of recyclable materials into the covered shelter and drive away content with your recent boost in karma points.

But what happens to that Aquafina bottle or empty can of black beans once you drop it off? How does it make its way from the plywood covered shelter back onto the shelves of Safeway as recycled material?

Here is a first hand tour of Threshold Recycling Services, and the lifespan of what Reinke calls discarded resources, and most call trash.

(Threshold Feature 1: :10 sec "Fade in and out of recycled material clunking.")

After a bag of recyclable material is dropped off, it is brought into the warehouse by one of six employees at Threshold. Ideally, the products have been sorted by plastic, paper, cardboard and tin. Reinke says bags that aren’t sorted waste time and money for Threshold.

(Threshold Feature 2: :27 sec "But if I have a six pound bag … We’re losing money.")

Once materials are sorted, they will go to a designated section of the warehouse to be grouped and stuffed into a baler. Plastics and tin go upstairs; paper goes in a separate room and cardboard goes to the side garage where it is baled in a separate baler.

(Threshold Feature 3: :57 sec " So we have two bailers … those ones there.")

Paper, plastics and tin take a different route.

(Threshold Feature 4: :45 sec " They get it sorted and … aluminum cans, plastic.")

Once the products are sorted and baled, they are piled into a truck and taken to Horizon Lines to be shipped down to Seattle. Threshold ships at least two truckloads of recycled material each month, but Reinke said that number can increase during the summer.

Once in Seattle, various buyers pick up the bales and pay per pound for the recycled material. The companies then take the products and turn them into new products.

Reinke keeps a piece bauxite in his office at Threshold to remind him of the many resources he is handling each day.

(Threshold Feature 5: :1:09sec " What is that … all of these things are resources.")

Reinke said Kodiak needs to do better at recycling. He plans to build a new building this fall that will be bigger and better equipped to handle large numbers of garbage. The building will also make it easier for people to get help from employees when sorting materials and keep the garbage covered and dry.

I’m Brianna Gibbs.


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