Placer County urges residents to spend ‘a day at the dump’
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Placer County such as hiking, checking out local museums and art galleries, and visiting the dump. Yes, the dump.
In this case the “dump” is actually the Materials Recovery Facility in Roseville, a high-tech recycling facility where the public can see firsthand what happens to their garbage once it leaves their homes. The 177,000 square-foot facility, which is owned by the Western Placer Waste Management Authority, was built in 1995 and currently diverts approximately 50 percent of the material it receives away from the landfill
Eric Oddo, Environmental Engineering program manager at the facility, said most people who tour the facility are impressed by what they see and learn.
“I’ve probably given tours to a thousand people over the years and many of them come in with a cynical attitude, but I think only two have actually left with a cynical attitude,” Oddo said. “It’s really amazing what goes on here.”
While many communities use multiple bins, Placer County uses one bin for household trash including recyclables, all of which eventually ends up at the facility. Each day more than 800 tons of garbage is delivered to the facility and recyclables and non-recyclables are sorted by hand and mechanically. Because people don’t sort at home, Oddo said, they sometimes doubt that the recycling is happening.
“People need to realize we do recycle, we just do it all here,” Oddo said.
Recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, metal and glass are sorted by size, type and color using an intricate network of equipment ranging from basic conveyor belts to complex devices that use magnets to pluck soup cans and other metals out of a steady stream of garbage as it whizzes by.
Raeanne Sarti, a teacher at Spanger Elementary School in Roseville, established the facility as a field trip for first graders four years ago to teach her students about their community.
“We go to the MRF to see what recycling looks like where we live and to see what the MRF employees do for us,” Sarti said.
Sarti said her students are always surprised by the amount of garbage at the facility and by the fact that people sort the garbage for recycling.
“A lot of them have been to the dump with their dads but they never knew what happened to it after that,” she said.