By Mike Scott
Industrial Opportunities in Kahoka will begin providing curbside recycling pickup in January, 2015.
“We’re really excited about it,” said manager Sara Allen. “A lot of people have difficulty bringing it our here to us.”
Allen and other Industrial Opportunities staff hosted an open house on Wednesday, December 17, allowing the public a glimpse of the work opportunities they provide for those with mental or physical disabilities. As a non-profit organization, their funding comes from contract work, recycling sales, state programs, grants and donations.
A total of about 55 employees work at Industrial Opportunities, and their recycling operation is a big part of their business. Most of these employees could not work in an “ordinary” work environment.
Some of the products accepted for recycling at Industrial Opportunities include cardboard, plastic, cans, magazines, newspaper, other paper, plastic sacks, clothes, toys, electronics, appliances and books. The recycleable materials are sorted by the workers into large boxes on pallets, then baled into roughly 1000 pound bales before being sold to a larger recycling company in Quincy.
The workspace and storage space for the operation demands a lot of room. For example, it takes 80 boxes of plastic bags, each roughly 4x4x4 feet, to create a bale. By contrast, it only takes a couple boxes of magazines to make a bale. With the new collection service, they hope to bring even more recycleable material into their shop.
Participants will receive a tote when signing up for the program, which will only cost $5.00 per month. Materials can be put in a sack, but need to be placed in the tote or next to the tote at the curbside by 8:00am on collection day, which will be Thursdays and Fridays. Half of Kahoka will be picked up each day.
“Just sign up, and we’ll come pick it up for you,” said Allen. Questions can be answered by calling 660-727-2515.
Another part of the overall operation is contract work. The biggest ongoing job provides a very special material needed at Griffin Wheel in Keokuk. Industrial Opportunities workers bag rice hulls into 3.5 oz plastic bags, which are then used to insulate the train wheels as the metal cools. Workers sit around a large hopper, receive the rice hulls from a chute, and bag and weigh the final product. About 42,000 bags of rice hulls are shipped out every week.
Industrial Opportunities is part of the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers, and is open from 8:00-3:00 Monday thru Friday. They also have a 24-hour recycling drop-off location available. They are located north of the softball fields, at 510 N. Vine in Kahoka.