ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque's new citywide recycling program is a hit.
But along with all the paper and plastic, there are things some people are trying to recycle that will probably surprise you--items ranging from strange to dangerous.
The Friedman Recycling plant in the North Valley is where recyclables from Albuquerque's blue bins end up along with whatever else people are putting in there.
“We have found prosthetic legs,” said Robert Taylor, plant manager. “We've found grenades that were actually dummy grenades, but still, you don't realize that until you have the professionals come out and check on that.”
That is why the workers are here to help the machines sort through it all.
They process about 250 tons of material a day, but about 10 percent of that doesn't belong there.
“Tires are not recyclable here,” Taylor said. “Tarps are bad. They get caught and wrap around parts of the system and are detrimental to the way the equipment's designed to sort.”
Some of this isn't just a danger to the equipment, but to the employees.
Taylor said they find hypodermic needles in the piles of trash at least once a week.
Then, there are the animals: barnyard animals, dogs, even a python a few weeks ago.
“Not necessarily a daily occurrence, but just a little bit more than we care to see,” Taylor said.
As a result, they are making five to six trips a week to dump prohibited items in the city landfill.
“We are basically doing the double-dip as far as transporting those products to the recycling plant, then having to turn around and transport them back to the landfill,” Taylor said.
The North Valley plant also does not take plastic grocery bags or pizza boxes.
The bags can get caught in the machinery, and the boxes are too greasy.
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