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Van's Sanitation to ramp up recycling operation

Friday, April 6, 2012

LE MARS - Van's Sanitation & Recycling is expanding its recycling operations in Le Mars -- a benefit to Plymouth County residents.

The Plymouth County Solid Waste Agency Board, known as the landfill board, decided last week to stop hauling recyclable materials to the Cherokee landfill to avoid paying for the service.

Scott Vander Sluis, part-owner of Van's, is in the process of opening a facility to process recyclable materials in the former ICON Ag building, on Business Highway 75, north of Le Mars.

He said Van's already does some recycling from businesses but has not done the household sorting before.

"They will be put on a belt and sorted into different commodities and then those commodities will be shipped out," Vander Sluis explained.

Vander Sluis said he is working on leasing the building to open a Material Recovery Facility, or sorting facility, to meet immediate needs.

"My ultimate goal is to put up a facility where we are located now," he said, referring to Van's current location, 1625 Industrial Road S.W.

Vander Sluis hopes that goal will be realized in the near future but said several things such as the amount of material being processed at the facility will determine its size.

Last week the Plymouth County landfill board accepted Vander Sluis' offer to pay the landfill $10 a ton for its recyclable materials.

That means all the recyclable items collected in rural areas and cities throughout the county will be purchased and sorted at Van's Le Mars facility, Vander Sluis said.

"I will be taking a look at the tonnages and how we can work with the different towns," he said.

Purchasing the county's recyclables is a profitable venture for Van's, as the company will sort them by commodity -- whether it be fibers or plastics -- bale and sell them, Vander Sluis said. Glass will not be accepted in the near future.

Increasing Van's operations by opening a Material Recovery Facility will also mean adding new job opportunities in the community, he said.

Initially, he sees hiring people "off the streets" or through "labor companies in Sioux City" and he will "advertise to local people here," Vander Sluis said.

And when the new facility is built, more jobs will be created, he added.

Vander Sluis said he's hoping the new facility on Industrial Road will be built in the next six months, but it could take a year.

Van's has always been involved with businesses' recycling efforts, and working with the county landfill will allow the company to expand its services, he said.

"That is one of the big things we want to be part of -- to help people recycle and keep the stuff out of the landfill," Vander Sluis said.

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