Dumpster diving: Diving deeper into the Rapid City Solid Waste Division facility

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Solid Waste Division’s material recovery facility brings in over 10 tons of recyclable garbage each day.

Waste that is recycled is broken down into plastics, aluminum and steel cans, as well as newspaper and cardboard. All of the recycled material stays in the county and is distributed to other states.

“Cardboard would go to Minnesota, aluminum cans we ship to anywhere from Alabama to Florida, newspaper goes to the paper mill in Nebraska; a lot of the recyclables, all of the recyclables that we keep out of the landfill does stay locally in the United States,” said Lucas Hartshorn, of the Rapid City Public Works Division.

The amount of garbage brought in each day to the solid waste facility has gone up with people being at home more due to COVID-19. And just outside of the building is the landfill. The cost that goes into running an operation like this is very expensive.

“A lot of people don’t realize what it costs from the household or the business to get it to here, what we have to do, this pit alone right here cost us $4.8 million,” said Jeff Barger the Superintendent of Rapid City Solid Waste.

The landfill is currently averaging 500 tons a day coming into the facility.

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