By Andrea Freygang
Russ Ketchum has worked in the solid waste industry since 1989, where he first started at a recycling plant sorting materials. Eventually he worked his way up to driving a truck and forklift than to sales and marketing before moving on to implementing recycling programs in places such as the Kennedy Space Center, Palm Beach County and for FPL before finally coming to work in Pompano Beach in 2003. Ketchum, when he started, had no recycling program in the City of Pompano Beach and over the years has developed and improved the program while sittingon the boards of various industry committees such as the American Public Works Association, Recycle Florida, Northwood University, and the Solid Waste Asssociation of America.
Back in 2003, Ketchum was hired by Pompano to oversee the recycling and solid waste program since his background was in both.
“They didn’t have anyone. I came on board as a recycling specialist–I wouldn’t say it was neglected per se – they just didn’t have anyone who had time to spend on it, “said Ketchum. “I’ve expanded the program greatly since then.”
To help raise awareness about recycling in Pompano, Ketchum not only implemented the different programs to pick up a single stream of recyclables (meaning you can put all your recycled materials in one bin without having to sort anymore), but he regularly speaks to businesses, groups, kids events, giving ideas on how to improve recycling. He also oversees the city’s Recycling and Solid Waste Committee.
“My task is to bring ideas and concepts and provide recommendations on how to solve solid waste issues–but the whole program has changed,” explains Ketchum when Pompano Today caught up with him. It’s expanded-and I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to expand. We used to not accept glass for example, but we have been on single stream for a while now.”
Ketchum regularly visits Pompano Beach schools with promotional items activities designed to encourage the kids, and their families by default, to recycle in the city’s program ,which is separate from Broward County’s program. “It’s really the public outreach that has been developed and has become part of a recycling program in Pompano,” said Ketchum. “We’ve also expanded to allow condos the ability to recycle all their news/magazines/office paper. We have people doing their own dropoff on electronics, inks, etc…which reduces waste going into our landfill (located in Pompano off Sample Rd. and Powerline Rd.) You can bring electronics and old paint (paint is recycled to make new paint and is given free to Pompano residents) as well to the hazardous materials recycling center at this location as well.
The goal is to close the loop by recycling than buying recycled items to increase demand for their products. “It’s important to save the Earth’s resources and maximize the life span of items by reusing them and by recycling them and buying and utilizing recycled products as often as we can,” said Ketchum. “It’s even as simple as paper. It is 10-20-30% recycled product–and if everyone uses, that alone helps drive the market to push the need for recycled products. For example, Valvoline just came out with motor oil that’s made from 50 percent recycled motor oil which is awesome. If we can close that loop, we can really have a lasting impact on the environment.
Residents looking for information on solid waste and recycling can visit buy lasix australia. You can also call the main line at 954-786-4030. Remember to Recycle!