This isn’t your ordinary recycling center, because it isn’t an ordinary person running it. Terry Buenzow has been the Department Manager of Winneshiek County Recycling Department since early 2000. Terry is enthusiastic about recycling and it shows. Prior to coming to the Winneshiek County Recycling, Terry was the purchasing manager of a precision metal fabrication company. This is where the interest for recycling started. Terry explains, “I dealt with a large amount of scrap materials when I was in manufacturing and that is in many ways an extension of what I am doing today.”
As a recycling center owned and operated by Winneshiek County itself, the management and staff is very cognizant of efficiency and revenue. Terry’s strategy, “We try and divert as much recyclable material as possible from the Winneshiek County Landfill at the lowest possible cost and at the same time deliver the most revenue possible back to the taxpayers of Winneshiek County.”
The Winneshiek County Recycling staff are not the only ones who are focused on the end result. The local community of Winneshiek County, Iowa, seems to be very engaged and on-board with the recycling initiatives. With a population in Winneshiek County of 21,000 mostly environmentally-conscious citizens, the people are key to making the recycling program so successful. Terry gives the citizens’ credit, “Our participation rate is very high. The operational structure we have lets the taxpayers of Winneshiek County benefit from participating in the recycling program.” It is easy to tell how well the recycling center and the citizens work together through education on the Winneshiek County Recycling Facebook Page.
Winneshiek County has invested in some great recycling equipment because they know it will just make their job easier and the program more sustainable. One of their favorite pieces of equipment is the S60XDRC Baler and Conveyor from Harmony Enterprises. Terry has an eye for quality, “It was the best unit available that fit our needs. It is manufactured only about 20 miles away and Fillmore County, Minnesota is part of the Winneshiek County Area Solid Waste Agency. All of us here at Winneshiek County Recycling have a great appreciation for quality equipment.” Quality and durability are an understatement when it comes to Harmony Enterprises products. Terry reminded us, “We also have a 1990 Harmony M60-HP that is used for a similar purpose and it is still going strong at age 21.” Terry is looking forward to his upcoming baler purchase, “It will be really cool when we have another one, and then there will be a 1 2011, 2012, and 1990 all in a row.”
Besides fitting their needs for quality and function, adding the Harmony S60XDRC Baler was also a big improvement to their operating efficiency. The baler makes Terry’s job easier, “We benefit from the operating efficiency and time savings every day. Once material is put on the conveyor that is the last time we ever have to handle it. Direct baling is the way to go.”
As a recycling center that is well known for its high quality materials, Winneshiek County gets the best pricing anywhere. Terry is always watching the paper, plastic, metal, and textile markets to stay on top of the pricing for materials that can be moved around in the recycling world. The Harmony Baler that they have now is dedicated to High Density Polyethylene, also known as the items identified with the #2 recycling symbol. WCR plans on purchasing another baler in the near future to dedicate it to #1 PET plastic.
Terry and the staff at Winneshiek County love to share what they are doing with others. Terry and WCRC were even featured recently on the local news. They give frequent tours to various groups of people from school and church groups. Terry is proud of what they have learned, “We like it when people from Harmony Enterprises visit us and get our advice on how to improve upon a product or to develop a new one. We also enjoy having potential Harmony customers visit us and see the equipment in operation. Hopefully we can help them design the ultimate baler.”
Terry has advice for others who are considering the purchase of a baler to help them improve their operating efficiencies. Terry recommends, “Determine what your slowest process in your facility is and find the unit from Harmony that will help correct the problem. Your overall rate of output in your facility can only be as fast as your slowest process.” – Great advice that will help create a greener environment, greener revenues, and sustainability for anyone who is in a recycling facility.