By Moses Leos III
Amid the piles of refuse scattered on a 2,000 acre plot of land in Creedmoor, Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) works to keep things as green as possible.
By sorting product that comes in, TDS attempts to divert items that can be recycled or reused from ending up in the trash.
“That’s our philosophy … It’s about diverting from the landfill for beneficial reuse,” Stacy Schmitt, TDS director of marketing and communications, said. “For us, it’s about diversion. How can we divert and keep as much out of the landfill as possible? That’s doing the right thing environmentally for us.”
The diversion process begins when refuse enters the front gates. Items such as appliances and lumber brought by residents are assessed by hand and are sorted accordingly.
Items such as plastic bottles, newspaper and cardboard go through the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), which sorts product through an automated system on a production line. Items are sorted by weight and type of material.
Schmitt said the human element is at the end of the line, as workers check what is sorted.
“We sort and separate 25 tons (of recycled material) per hour,” Schmitt said. “That’s how much is coming through here.”
Once items are sorted, TDS goes to work on reusing them. It’s part of two ways TDS recycles, which features open loop recycling, where a new item is made, or closed loop, where items are recycled into the same product.
Items such as appliances can be fixed or refurbished and moved to a citizens’ resale area, which allows others to purchase them. “Plain lumber,” which is free of nails, can end up being turned into compost, which is then sold to consumers. Concrete is processed down to powder, which is sold to companies to use for road base or bridges.
Aluminum cans are crushed into square bales and sold to companies, which then create new cans. Glass is processed to remove sharp edges and turned into decorative xeriscaping product, or used on roads as a dirt suppressant.
“We reuse everything you can think of,” Schmitt said.
In addition, TDS can store commodities, such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans, on its property if it’s “not at the right price at the right time.”
“We’re balanced in good times, but sustainable in tough times,” Schmitt said. She added the company is balaced because of the “footprint we sit on” and the integrated services of composter, recycler and as a landfill.
“It’s not just about recycling for us,” she said. “We’re kind of different than a standard landfill.”
TDS also works to educate the public on recycling methods. Schmitt said the company reaches out
to school students “at a young age” to teach how to sort items for recycling.
They also provide schools mulch and compost for class gardens and projects at schools as well.
“It’s the right thing to do, to give back to the community we serve,” Schmitt said.