DeWitt: Naef Recycling talks trash

Mark Naef is committed to conservation.

Having been involved in the recycling business since the mid-80s, Naef took his valuable experience obtained throughout the years and brought it to Naef Recycling, Central New York's largest independently owned and operated Materials Recovery Facility.

Based in East Syracuse, the structure is 45,000 square feet located over four acres of land. It accepts residential, commercial, and industrial recyclables from public or private haulers, municipalities and other groups.

Naef said to get started he had to set up a contract with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency.

"[OCRRA] doesn't provide recycling services but it provides for there to be recycling services," Naef said. "Right now, Waste Management and [Naef Recycling] are the two designated recycling facilities in Onondaga County, meaning if you're a registered hauler in Onondaga County, you can bring anything here for free."

In addition to the OCRRA contract (which concentrates on residential recycling), he works with numerous private haulers and their commercial accounts such as ShoppingTown Mall, Carousel Center and Finger Lakes Mall. He also receives recyclables from Oswego County's transfer stations.

"We do about 150 tons of material a day here," Naef said. "I would rather see it around 200 tons a day but it needs to be at least 150 to pay for overhead and to hopefully make a profit which doesn't always happen but that's the model of the private sector. It's a commodities-based industry, so when commodities are hot like they are now, then we do a lot better."

Single stream versus dual stream recycling

Naef works closely with most of the private haulers in the area, however, not in every aspect. For instance, Feher Rubbish Removal brings all its commercial cardboard to Naef Recycling but none of its residential material because Feher picks it up single stream, which is what Waste Management offers now. Single stream is when bottles and cans are mixed in with paper. Naef Recycling is a dual stream facility where paper (cardboard, toothpaste boxes, junk mail, etc.) gets separated from containers.

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