Who says the Westside doesn't have recycling?
Robb Herrelson has been recycling in one form or another at his trash business on the north end of Laurie since he opened it in 1988.
For Herrelson, trash is the family business. He helped his father tear down big factories in the 1970s before seeing the need for a scrap yard in Laurie. Now, he and his son Tyler work together at the Laurie Recycling Center.
When Robb first opened for business, the center only accepted metal.
Over the years, however, as "secondary" types of recyclable materials became more profitable, the business has grown to include plastics, cardboard, batteries and any type of metal including aluminum and tin cans.
Herrelson has two balers that mash like items together for transport to large recycling centers in Jefferson City and Springfield.
These days, the Laurie Recycling Center takes in about seven bales of cardboard a month with one bale alone weighing around 8,500 pounds.
He gets enough plastic jugs and bottles to make an 800 pound bale about every two weeks. He also accepts miscellaneous plastics — anything that's not a jug or a bottle — though there's less of a market for those.
It all goes to be recycled though Herrelson says he doesn't make a lot of money from those items.
The main profit, he says, is still in metal - from appliances to aluminum cans. The Laurie recycling center buys cans, copper, brass, stainless and steel.
Herrelson will take and recycle everything except glass and paper.
There is just no market for glass, and he says he can't get any money for it.
He recommends people avoid glass containers if they're interested in recycling.
Herrelson does say he would like to be able to take newspapers and magazines for recycling but needs a building to store these materials in to keep them dry until they can be baled and transported. Recycling centers won't take damp or wet newspaper.
Right now, there's just not enough money in paper recycling to construct a building to code.
These types of recycling would only be feasible through a government program, says Herrelson. A city or county could take on the service because they don't have to make a profit and could use tax money to subsidize the program.
Herrelson has also considered curbside recycling in which he would pick up recyclables from people's homes.
At this point, however, homes are still too spread out to make the program cost effective.
In the meantime, Laurie Recycling Center will continue to take as much of your trash as they can.
Page 2 of 2 - You can start separating your trash today and recycle it by dropping it off at the Herrelsons' place located at 640 N. Main St. The center is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. during the week and 9-noon on Saturday. It's usually also open on holidays.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-374-0101.