Good Question: How do garbage trucks separate trash and recycling?

Good Question: How do garbage trucks separate trash and recycling?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — When you put something in your recycling bin, how confident are you that it won’t wind up in a landfill? News10NBC went to a local garbage collector to learn exactly what happens with your trash.

Tom asks: “How do the recycled materials get separated from the trash when the two separate bins are picked up at the same time and placed in the same area of the truck? I witnessed this from Dependable Disposal in Henrietta.”

Steve Morgan, the owner-operator of Dependable Disposal, says this is a question he gets a lot. “It’s very confusing to the customer because they see it all going in the same place in the truck,” Morgan said.

Both your recycling bins and your trash bins are picked up by that arm on the side of the truck. Once they’re picked up, they are dropped into a compartment on top of the truck.

There is a special panel inside this compartment that separates recycling and trash. It’s called a diverter panel.

“The diverter panel completely shuts off one side and opens the other side, and then when it flips it conversely closes the other side,” Morgan said.

It’s done with the click of a button and the driver has eyes on it the whole time.

“A hopper camera so he can see which way he has the diverter panel positioned, and if there’s anything that goes in the truck that shouldn’t, you know he can stop it and get out and remove it. like tires, microwaves, things like that,” Morgan said.

Morgan says the truck has two sections. One can hold about eight tons of garbage and the other can hold roughly three and a half tons of recycling. After it’s picked up, it all gets dropped off at the same plant. If any trash makes it into the recycling, or vice versa, workers at the plant then sort it out.

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