recycling

Susan Bence

As Kris McCoy sets up at the Saturday Mineral Point Market in Water Tower Park, she is surrounded by her artfully arranged wooden creations – a large buffet, numerous candle holders, decorative ladders, to name a few.

Mineral Point is home.

McCoy and her husband have lived here 23 years and raised their four children here.

Grace Heffernan

According the the EPA, American's generate roughly 254 million tons of trash a year, approximately 35 percent of which is recycled or composted. Meanwhile, Sweden boasts that more than 99 percent of all household waste there is recycled.

Swedish native Veronica  Lundback arrived in Milwaukee in 2001 to attend graduate school at UWM. Back at home, conservation was a way of life.

Ann-Elise Henzl

A number of people celebrated Earth Day over the weekend, perhaps renewing their commitment to eco-friendly habits. There's one practice that might not be on everyone's radar: finding new life for old textiles, from clothing to household décor.

Bob Woycke recycles textiles for a living.

"As a kid, I was living on 12th and Becher. I remember the ragman coming through with the horse and cart in the alley. Little did I know, I'd end up in that business," Woycke says.

LaToya Dennis

An economic downturn is underway, and most people probably have no idea. It’s not like the Great Recession when the entire country could notice the impact, yet today’s decline is turning some people’s lives upside down. Players in the recycling industry are struggling including in Milwaukee.

Bruce Adams hits the road every morning between 3 and 3:30 to scavenge for what most people would consider junk, but for Adams, it’s money.

Ann-Elise Henzl

At this time of year, many of us exchange gifts or entertain more than usual. The byproduct can be waste, which ends up in landfills.

There are many opportunities to generate waste this season. Items you order online may come entombed in packaging. So can toys. Then, there’s the plethora of materials we use to wrap gifts.

While bows and ribbons are destined for the landfill, people can recycle most wrapping paper and boxes, according to Rick Meyers, Resource Recovery Program manager for the City of Milwaukee. He says people here seem to be getting the message.

S Bence

WasteCap Resource Solutions has been around for 15 years.

Salvaged beams and art deco windows are just part of its vision to transform waste into resources. WasteCap leaves no brick unturned.

Project Manager Justin Dall’Osto knows the facts. “U.S. landfills are made up 41 percent of construction demolition materials. Wisconsin is around 30 to 31 percent. So we’re a little a less but we’re doing our part to try make it even lower,” he says.

Diverting organic materials from landfills consumes Kompost Kids volunteers. The group hopes to ramp up efforts and is vying for a national prize to help.