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Keep Alliance Beautiful Recycling Center Manager G.O. Thompson, left, listens as Spud Rowley describes the layout at the Kimball Recycling Center, which he has managed for the past 10 years. KAB and other Keep America Beautiful affiliates recently met in Kimball for a tour and luncheon.

A few months ago I met Spud Rowley. Manager of the Kimball Recycling Center, he came by our recycling center to talk to my boss, G.O. Thompson. Not long after that Rowley received the contract to haul all our materials (except milk jugs) to his location and Ogallala. Last week I traveled with Thompson and two other Keep Alliance Beautiful employees to see Spud’s facility and meet with other regional Keep America Beautiful affiliates.

Located west of the stoplight on Highway 30, the Kimball Recycling Center is a solid older building modified over the past three decades to better serve the community. Murals cover the structure inside and out. Windows with flaps have been added along the front where people can drop off recyclables anytime. Inside a tall overhead door are three of the same balers used at our facility as well as two smaller models. An industrial paper shredder sits to the side. A yard on the south side of the property contains materials waiting to be processed or shipped. Overall the site is smaller than the KAB Recycling Center though handles more volume.

Spud travels to Alliance about once a week, give or take, with a pickup and trailer. Bales and containers are waiting and loading takes perhaps a half hour. Regarding the destination of Alliance recycling, electronics, tin/steel cans, glass and paint stay in Kimball. Cardboard, plastics, newspaper, magazines/books, white/shredded paper and Hefty Energy bags go to Ogallala. From there the materials are sold to other recyclers on the way to becoming new products. Hefty bags, for example, go to Omaha.

Spud has been manager for the past 10 years and has four part-time employees. The Kimball Recycling Center serves several communities in Northwest Nebraska as well as their own town and county. There are Alleycat trailers (just like those used by KAB) in Dix and Bushnell. Spud has most recently added Thedford as a collection point. Talking to the group of affiliates prior to last week’s tour, Spud said that he has a connection with everybody and thinks they can all work together. He added that it does not need to be full scale, such as opening new recycling centers.

Kimball Recycling Center is a tax exempt non profit C corporation. The city owns their building and pays for utilities. The city, county of Kimball respectively charge residents $2 a month on their utility bills to pay for the service. Spud explained there are a bunch of totes in the alleys of Kimball providing a single-stream recycling service with 70-115 processed weekly. Like Alliance, they have bins for cardboard serving businesses.

Keeping material out of the landfill is a major selling point when recyclers work with municipalities. Spud quantified the difference made in Kimball. He explained: in 2018 they recycled just over 622,000 pounds. That saved the landfill 16 or 17 semi-truck loads that year. In other words that extended the life of their current cell by two and a quarter years. “We are cheaper than the landfill,” Spud emphasized.

Next week I will touch more on the Kimball Recycling Center and the relationships between area Keep America Beautiful affiliates.

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