Field Trip to the Montgomery County Recycling Center

January 27th, 2015

By C. David Ruch

The Red Wiggler Growers and staff had a real learning experience at the Montgomery County Recycling Center this week.  First, we learned what can and cannot be recycled.  For instance, our tour guide said that ice cream cartons can be recycled after a light rinse.

We also learned about the reasons we recycle, including to avoid filling up landfills and polluting the air at the incinerator; to use recycled materials to make reusable grocery bags, t-shirts, pairs of gloves and socks, fiberfill, and even rugs; and to save Montgomery County money and energy recycling paper to sell.  Recycling paper saves trees; recycling glass saves sand; and recycling plastic saves lots of chemicals.

During the tour of the sorting room, we had to wear earplugs because the sorting equipment was very loud. We watched the recycling trucks dumping their loads.  It sure was a lot of cans, plastic and glass bottles, and aluminum cans! The assembly line workers were sorting out the different types of recycling items and removing the things that cannot be recycled.  The conveyor belt was moving very quickly and they only had a split second to decide what was recyclable.

After our tour, Matt, our Assistant Farm Manager, took us on a drive through the whole facility.  We saw sections for dropping off hazardous materials, TVs, computers, yard waste, appliances, waste oil, and even Christmas trees.

Here at Red Wiggler, we recycle, reuse, and conserve a lot more than just glass, plastic and paper.  We save our soil by using cover crops.  We save our water by using drip tape which uses less water.  In the greenhouse, we reuse plastic trays and pots all year round.  And all of our customers bring their vegetable waste to be added to the farm’s compost pile to be reused later as fertilizer on the fields.  I am proud to work at Red Wiggler and help to grow lots of fresh organic vegetables in a way that creates different habitats for birds and creatures and insects to live and nest on the farm.

I would suggest anyone who has never been to the Recycling Center to go and take a tour.

David Ruch has been a Grower at Red Wiggler since 2007 and currently works as the Greenhouse Assistant.