Sifting Through the Trash | VideoJoel Porter | 9/18/2012
But not everything ends up in the landfill.
This may look like a pile of twisted metal--and it is-- but to city workers in Bismarck, this is money.
"This is another form of recycling. You get so used to tying up newspaper and the cardboard and all that, but this is just another means of recycling and waste reduction we`re doing out here," Galen Bren said. Bren is a recycling specialist with the Bismarck public works department.
From air conditioners, lumber, concrete, even the kitchen sink, public works director Jeff Heintz can think of at least one use for it.
"Concrete pieces that come out, we put those into a pile where they`re ground up later and used for road base," Heintz said.
And during fall clean up week, city workers will pick up any unwanted items on the curb for free.
"They`re often inconvenient for people to haul away. They`re difficult if they don`t have a pickup truck or a trailer," Heintz said.
One thing the city is seeing an influx of, old televisions. With the dawn of flat screens, it means old tube Tvs have become nearly impossible to sell. And when they don`t go on the garage sale, they wind up on the curb and ultimately, out here.
"There`s lead in some of the CRTs of the old TV sets, we don`t want that in our landfill," Heintz said.
And even though it means extra work for the city, workers will separate and pile large items to keep it out of the trash heap.
"We look at that as a cleanup week when we separate things more so. Because there are the larger volumes out there. So we`re keeping it from our MSW or municipal solid waste site," Bren said.
"The big goal here is to try and keep this landfill as long as we can. Keep the cost down for the residents and make this landfill last as long as possible," Heintz said.
A last ditch effort for people to discard their unwanted items until the next free cleanup week in May.
Items on the curb are also free for the taking.
Bismarck is still considering curbside recycling but cost remains a big issue.
Residents pay just under $10 a month for garbage collection.