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Picking up the pace on environmental waste
Aluminum cans bring in the highest value in scrapping, says Assistant Manager of Turlock Scavenger Art Machado. - photo by Brooke Borba

Earth Day is more than just a day to plant trees, pick up trash, and recycle; it is a time for families and businesses to come together to alter the effects our presence has made on the planet.

Recent technological advances have helped  minimize the impact of waste throughout the United States, according to Turlock Scavenger Assistant Manager Art Machado.

Since 1935, Turlock Scavenger Company has been operated under the Marchant family. It has grown from one small recycling business to incorporate three different companies, each dealing with industrial and commercial waste in both the City of Turlock and Stanislaus County. 

“There are four companies that sort, recycle, transport, and pick-up commodities. Turlock Scavenger picks up waste and recyclable materials, Turlock Sorting sorts our commodities based on the items we receive to be sold, and Turlock Recycling operates a buyback center to purchase commodities,” said Machado. “And finally, we have large trucks that pick-up or transport our commodities. That sector is known as the Turlock Transfer Company.”

Instead of relying on a conveyor belt in which human hands would sort through the differing materials, machines have now taken their place, pushing production further and faster than the average human eye. New state-of-the art automated trucks have also taken the place of the old ones, and now run on compressed natural gas instead of diesel fuel.

“Our technology has really come a long way,” said Machado. “And we are happy that there are more people recycling so that we can take advantage of these opportunities. There has always been a large base clientele that have been recycling with us. Now it is good to see others doing it too. People have definitely become more aware of the impact they’ve been making on the world, which has caused a lot more businesses to come around,” said Machado.

He noted that before 2000, there were only three recycling plants available in the region. Within a short amount of time, a total of seven businesses came to fruition near Turlock during the summer of 2005.

Since then, California has become the first state to have a CRV fund in which materials are exported out of state, generating more income and boosting the local economy through recycling waste.

Turlock Scavenger is more than just a business partner, but an asset to the community. On a monthly basis, it brings in 8,000 to 10,000 tons of materials off the streets of Stanislaus County, and sends out over 1 million pounds of commodities. The company’s contribution has significantly lessened the impact of waste in the local region.

In order to encourage recycling with the younger generation, Turlock Scavenger has partnered with the City of Turlock for Go Green Week, where local schools host recycling contests. The winning class gets a pizza party, a donation from Turlock Scavenger, and a tour of the facilities.

Turlock Scavenger has also initiated the Team Green Kids Club, offering Turlock youth opportunities to recycle, conserve, and preserve the natural resources found locally. The outreach teaches children about the importance of going green, and tips on how to keep the environment healthy through coloring books, stickers, and special invites.

“We really want to push the message that the environment is important to us,” said Machado. “A lot of stuff goes to the curb, and people don’t understand what is involved in the trash industry. If we can do our part to make them a little more conscious, I couldn’t be happier.”

 209 Staff Reporter