A Saylorsburg man is trying to change how Monroe County does recycling. He wants to start self-sustaining, mini-recycling centers in local communities. He's working with Smithfield Township to start one there. News 13s Dominic Barone went to his shop.
Pat Kelley is looking to take the job of recycling back from trash haulers. He said they should've never been put in this position in the first place. His company "Waste Not Technologies" specifically focuses on how to reuse plastics, and have it make money.
"We can educate those communities on how best to recycle, what you can recycle there, and by doing that and having automation, we're going to have a very high recycling rate" Pat Kelley said, "And that will help pay the bills for that recycling center"
Pat Kelley is looking to turn the recycling world on it's head. A former chemical engineer for ExxonMobil, he wants to establish a shared recycling center in Smithfield Township that could service Middle Smithfield Township, Delaware Water Gap, and maybe more. The actual separation of recyclables would be done by an automated machine. Humans simply can't do a good job at it 8 hours a day.
"They're not picking the right things. They're missing things." Kelley said, "Machines can do this without getting tired. So we shouldn't be asking human beings to do something that they just really can't do."
But these smaller recycling plants will need managers, creating high-paying engineering jobs. If done properly, you can sell these plastic materials to people like Kelley who started Waste Not Technologies in 2004. He puts empty milk jugs and other plastic bottles in this machine which pumps out these small plastic bits. He then melts those down into forms to make things like fencing and posts; lasting a lot longer than wood.
"And these are things that won't rot as opposed to wood." Kelley said, "So that's our mission: to take recycled plastics and make durable outdoor products. He said it doesn't make sense forcing trash haulers to recycle. Their business model straight up does not work for effective recycling.
"You're asking them to take time away from what makes money for them, and go do something else by law. That's not enough. You have to be gung-ho recyclers. We got to do this right." Kelley said.
Not only will this make recycling better, but it will include more people to recycle. As it is, trash haulers can't be as aggressive as we need them to be.