Battle of the noodle: Allied heats up recycling rhetoric against Van der Linde

For several years now, Allied Waste, which is owned by mega-waste company Republic Services, has been largely silent while Van der Linde Recycling (VDLR) steals all the local trash and recycling glory. Now the company is fighting back with a vengeance. With an onslaught of web, print, radio, and TV advertising, Allied suggests that much of the recycling collected by local haulers using VDLR is ending up in a landfill.

However, according to Peter Van der Linde, Allied's new "separate, don't contaminate" ad campaign is just the last gasp from a company tied to an outmoded way of handling trash– and to its own landfills.

"Republic's business model in our area is built on its landfill business," says Van der Linde, "and they are understandably fighting to stay alive."

Four years ago, Van der Linde put his money where his mouth is by opening a 100,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Zion Crossroads, a facility that transformed the trash business. Suddenly, local haulers such as Dixon Disposal and Time Disposal could offer their customers all-in-one, single-stream recycling: just throw all your household trash and recycling in one big bin and let Van der Linde's facility do the sorting. Not only does your recycling get processed, but those bags of household trash get probed for recyclables too.

"Recycling facilities are the enemy of landfills," says Van der Linde, "because they starve them of revenue."

Corporate haulers in the area like Republic and Waste Management, each of which operates their own landfills and recycling facilities, may find themselves getting squeezed by the new market Van der Linde's facility has facilitated.

Since VDLR opened, Van der Linde says that 30 area homeowners associations– including the sprawling Forest Lakes and the Lake Monticello communities– have ditched either Waste Management or Republic Service and gone with a smaller hauler. The Albemarle County School system now wants to hire a firm using VDLR.

While Allied has remained competitive in the household trash and recycling hauling business, collecting 40,540 tons of trash and recycling to VDLR's 42,961 tons in 2010, what happens next illustrates a key difference: VDLR sent 12,938 tons off-site to be recycled, while Allied Waste recycled just 4,725 tons.

In the arena of building scraps, the disparity is much more profound. In 2010, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, VDLR collected 68,565 tons of construction and demolition debris, while Allied Waste collected just 1,824 tons. Whereas VDLR recycled almost 56,000 tons of that amount, Allied Waste recycled none. (VDLR also turned 280 tons into mulch, and had 1,200 tons stored on-site at the time of the reporting.)

As Van der Linde points out, Republic operates over 200 landfills across the country,

including the largest, an Indiana mega-dump that receives 20 tons of trash a day. In Virginia, Republic owns landfills in Rockville, Richmond, and Little Plymouth. The company also operates a recyclery in Roanoke, and this year a 6.4-megawatt (MW) gas-to-energy plant opened up in the Richmond landfill, capturing the methane produced by decomposing trash for use as fuel to create electricity.


Landfills are big business in Virginia. In addition to the trash that Virginians generate, the state is the nation's number two importer of trash. (Pennsylvania is number one.) In 2010, according to the DEQ, 5.5 million tons of trash and debris from 24 states and a few foreign countries were dumped in Virginia. A vast majority of this trash goes to privately-owned landfills contracting with out-of-state clients.

"We're competing for your recycling business, for sure," says Van der Linde, "but we're also competing against the corporate landfill business in Virginia. The better we get at what we do, the less ends up in a landfill, and that's not good for the landfill business."

Meanwhile, Allied Waste's "separate, don't contaminate" marketing campaign is challenging the all-in-one bin approach espoused by Van der Linde. Putting all your household trash and recycling in one bin increases the risk of contamination. "For example, if Sunday’s newspaper mixes with Monday’s lasagna, the paper cannot be recycled," Allied asserts.

Allied Waste offers a dual bin system: put the messy household trash in one and the bottles and cans in the other, whose contents get hauled to a facility in Tidewater 90 miles away.

"Our goal is to educate people on what single stream recycling truly is, and we know that we need to make sure that people separate their recyclable goods and put them in one container," Allied's David Aikman told NBC29 during an Eco-Fair the company sponsored at the Main Street Arena to promote its green practices.

Van der Linde bristles at what he claims is hypocrisy and cynicism of the landfill-owning corporation.

"In four years of operation," says Van der Linde, "our facility has never had a single bale of cardboard or paper rejected due to commingled contamination."

As Van der Linde points out, if the majority of cardboard and paper arrived in bins with grease and pizza sauce on them, the vendors who buy his bales would balk. But he says that greasy papers represent a tiny percentage of the material received. He also says that technological advances are rewriting the traditional definitions of contamination.

"Given the situation in this country, relying on public participation for recycling only guarantees that more stuff ends up in a landfill," says Van der Linde.

If everyone could be counted on to carefully sort recycling into a separate bin, all of this wouldn't be necessary, but that's just not happening in America. In Japan, for instance, the public dedication to recycling should make us blush. Today, Japan recycles a world-record-holding 72 percent of the plastic bottles they use, compared to just 29.1 percent in the United States.

But Van der Linde thinks there's hope without doing what one Japan city did a few years ago when it issued a 27-page sorting manual that provided instructions on the disposal of over 500 items.

"Recycling technology has made dramatic advances in cleaning everything from cardboard, plastics, paper, and metal," says Van der Linde. "In fact, the advances have spawned the mining of landfills to go back after overlooked recyclables."

For example, metal cans are now smelted in vats at 16,000 degrees, eliminating virtually every contaminant, while plastic bags and broken glass, long cited as contaminants, are now getting used for sandblasting material, as so-called road "glassfault," and for making wood-alternative decks and railings.

A company called Terracycle, featured last year on National Geographic's series Garbage Moguls, recycles pens, candy wrappers, tooth brushes, and even that supposed scourge of the waste bin: dirty diapers. The materials are remade as park benches. Any young athlete has already noticed the recycled tires in her playground mulch, turf cushioning, and track-and-field surfacing; but tires also appear in cosmetics and in the shock absorbers that now grace many highway guard rails. Even wax-coated cardboard, long considered a contaminated recyclable, can be repurposed as a fireplace wood substitute.

"We are in the midst of a recycling revolution," says Van der Linde.

Several attempts to contact Allied Waste's Aikman finally prompted a call from a local public relations firm representing the company, questioning the purpose of this story and demanding to know what the "angle" was before answering any questions. Anne Hooff, with Payne, Ross & Associates, insists that Allied is the only company in town meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's definition of single-stream recycling.

Indeed, current EPA definitions of the practice don't encourage throwing household waste into the mix, and that bolsters Allied's point. While single-stream recycling is all the rage, numerous EPA studies have determined that it can contaminate recyclables. Encourage people to throw household trash into the mix, and the problem gets worse.

However, proponents of VDLR's system assert that the sheer increase in the amount of recyclables collected off-sets what gets contaminated. Indeed, according to the EPA, communities that switch to single-stream trash and recycling collection typically see a 40 percent jump in the amount of recyclables collected.

After months of deliberation, the folks at Forest Lakes disregarded Allied's claim about contamination caused by the VDLR system, which they determined "not to be accurate." The community had previously been using Allied Waste/Republic Services, but decided to go with SDI Refuse Collection, one of a dozen area haulers now using the VDLR facility.

"Even if there is some contamination, the total volume of what we recycle here at Forest Lakes will increase," says Forest Lakes Community Association board president David Shifflett. "Now, 100 percent of our residents will be involved in the recycling process."

Shifflett also points out that one less truck, the one that used to collect recycling, will be driving around the streets of Forest Lakes. And because the local trash hauling business has become so competitive, he says, they were able to negotiate a contract that will lower trash and recycling collection bills by 40 percent.

The directors also like the idea that Van der Linde's facility can sort through household trash for recyclables, making it a so-called "dirty" MRF, and that anything left over is sent to a waste-to-energy plant in Harrisonburg. One more way trash is being diverted from landfills.

According to a March invoice from the facility, Van der Linde spent $18,000 in tipping fees in two weeks disposing of household waste–-after it had been sorted through for recyclables–for use as fuel.

Indeed, lost in Allied's "separate, don't contaminate" campaign is a biggie: the fact that household trash collected by the company is going to a landfill, while household trash at Van der Linde's facility gets picked through and about a third of what's in the bins recycled. Anything left over is burned rather than buried.

Here's another oddity: instead of taking advantage of Van der Linde's recycling facility, Allied Waste hauls all its trash and recycling to a small transfer station (basically a warehouse building with no sorting equipment) right beside the Van der Linde facility. From there, trash is sent to a company landfill, and recycling is sent to the facility in Tidewater.

Meanwhile, fellow corporate hauler Waste Management, as part of its City trash collection contract, uses VDLR, while Allied Waste, which has a separate contract with the City for curbside recycling collection, hauls it to Tidewater.

With the recent installation of a new bag breaking machine (see one in action here), air knife dryers that rapidly dry recyclables, and an electro-magnet that picks out metals, Van der Linde says that his household waste recovery rate, which has been about 30 percent, should increase significantly.

"Given the current technology, a relatively few soiled pizza boxes or lasagna making contact with paper is no real impediment to the recycling process," he says. "To attempt to leverage this as a basis for derailing what we are doing is to turn back the hands of time to the bygone days of the dump."

This story is a part of the Waste War: the fight over trash and recycling special.
Read more on: recycling


Looks like the waste war continues with the above comments. Thanks to Dave McNair the facts speak for themselves:

"While Allied has remained competitive in the household trash and recycling hauling business, collecting 40,540 tons of trash and recycling to VDLR's 42,961 tons in 2010, what happens next illustrates a key difference: VDLR sent 12,938 tons off-site to be recycled, while Allied Waste recycled just 4,725 tons.

In the arena of building scraps, the disparity is much more profound. In 2010, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, VDLR collected 68,565 tons of construction and demolition debris, while Allied Waste collected just 1,824 tons. Whereas VDLR recycled almost 56,000 tons of that amount, Allied Waste recycled none. (VDLR also turned 280 tons into mulch, and had 1,200 tons stored on-site at the time of the reporting.) "

I was referring to the comments under Question of the Week :

Someday, there will once again be an interesting story in the Hook......


Actually boo I think this is more interesting than the recycled press releases I see in other media
This story actually required some digging .
And it's important for the public, being barraged with Allied advertising to discredit Van der Linde, to know that it is garbage.

Some of us care and I'm glad the Forest Lakes folks got it right.

" After months of deliberation, the folks at Forest Lakes disregarded Allied's claim about contamination caused by the VDLR system, which they determined "not to be accurate." The community had previously been using Allied Waste/Republic Services, but decided to go with SDI Refuse Collection, one of a dozen area haulers now using the VDLR facility. "

These big companies lobby FOR excessive regulations that they can amortise across hundreeds of locations and thousands of trucks in order to keep the little guy from even entering the business. The tree huggers go along because they think all the rules will make the envrionment a better place. Forest lakes got it right.

Is there any way to find out if Allied actually hauls all the recycling they pick-up to Tidewater.. The economics of the situation and fuel costs would make this improbable and taking it to a small warehouse first sounds suspicious. Has this reporter been inside that warehouse ?

I enjoy the Hook from time to time but, whoa! I moved here from Portland and my brother lives in Colorado, and the future of progressive areas is single stream. I mean that's what regions and governments are pushing for now. Glass crushed into trash bits and recycled? Not likely? Paper and pet fesces always recyclable? I don't think so. I hope there is a response to this piece. The overlying theme seems to be that people here are just too lazy here and that Vanderl. is there for the lowest common denominator. It makes me worry. VanderL. may be ok for construction (?) but the info in this piece is not anything like what I've heard for years everywhere -- but here?! C'mon :-)

Sara, not sure what you mean . Van der Linde does allow single stream and if you read the article that promotes far more recycled garbage.

Hey nancy, thanks for the note.
Actually vanderLinde is NOT single stream.
I have never ever heard of all trash in one bin as single-stream except charlottesville?! single stream is ONE can for all RECYCLABLES and ONE for TRASH. What is nice is that all recyclables are mixed-but not all trash. that's where the trouble starts..that is where the confusion is in this town i think. easy mistake to make...I can tell you that "the future" is not how V. does it... For some reason people here don't get that, and I think VanderLinde is doing a great disservice by calling it that. They honestly should call it one-trash-truck service. hope that helps :-)

The problem with traditional "single stream" is that people do not participate and toss everything in the non reclable bag to be tossed. This achives less net results than vanderllinds way of sorting. The real way would be to have single stream where people can sort if they want to and then have the "other" go through the sorting process.

If the overall goal is to achive max recycling at the lowest cost then vandrelinds is the way to go....

Of course you could do it like they do in Maryland and have trash police come around and dumpster dive and write 500 dollar tickets even though the apartment complex has no clue who threw away a recyclable.

They also have to file an annual "trash return"

But don't worry there is no such thing as too much government ... just ask the C-ville city council

More and more areas are dealing with single stream by choice now and charlottesville cannot because "people do not participate and toss everything in the non reclable bag to be tossed"....Yet portland and boulder etc. all are successful....all practice and believe in it. I think people here are capable? I'd hope so :-) No need for dumpster cops. Just a local government that believes in doing the right things. And recycling bins that are easy to use....Maybe it's like having a remote for a TV and then realizing it's on the other side of the room and it just looks so far away you watch the show you hadn't planned on? It's just a mental frame of mind. I am confident that locals could do it here and it would do a lot of good.

I prefer the old school method of recycling: Drive 5 miles to McIntire recycling center, leave Volvo wagon idling while you leisurely drop off a few things in the wrong container and chat with acquaintances.

Sara just google single stream recycling it means putting all your trash in one can --not two . Even Boulder does it :

"Boulder County recycling bins have evolved for the 21st century. Instead of diligently separating recyclables into two “streams” — mixed paper (newspaper, junk mail, etc.) and commingled containers (bottles, cans, etc.) — recyclers whose materials go to the Boulder County Recycling Center are now able to put these two streams together in one bin.

The new program is called “single-stream” recycling. It’s the future for responsible resource conservation and an important step toward meeting our goal of building a Zero Waste community by 2020 "

Sara locals are doing it here already.

I have been a customer at van der Linde, and have witnessed atrocities. Among them, smashing of air conditioners and refrigerators without regard for refrigerant recovery.

Regarding recycling, there is a misprint in this article.

"Four years ago, Van der Linde put his money where his mouth is by opening a 100,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Zion Crossroads, a facility that transformed the trash business. Suddenly, local haulers such as Dixon Disposal and Time Disposal could offer their customers all-in-one, single-stream recycling: just throw all your household trash and recycling in one big bin and let Van der Linde's facility do the sorting. Not only does your recycling get processed, but those bags of household trash get probed for recyclables too."

The 100,000 sf facility is the Construction/Demolition building, not the much smaller household trash building across the pond.

Many times, van der Linde does not even ATTEMPT to recycle; especially in the evening I have witnessed no staff on the sorting line and materials directly transferred to outgoing trucks.


1) TOTAL TONNAGE AND IT BETTER MATCH DEQ solid waste inventory assesments on public record or you have forged a public document


The hook needs to dig a little deeper.

Here's a hint:

FOIA the Virginia Department of Agriculture, office of Weights and Measures.

When you do, you will find there is an 80-page document, and an ongoing investigation, of scalehouse practices at van der Linde.

Truck scales operated improperly could distort recycling numbers as well as have the potential to cause customers to pay more, particulary if you rent a van der Linde container and pay $49 per ton for materials in the container.

Honeycomb why don't you FOIA any citizen can do that and I'm sure the Hook will publish something if it is what you claim .

Please explain the headline and bowl of pasta on the cover.

"I have been a customer at van der Linde, and have witnessed atrocities. Among them, smashing of air conditioners and refrigerators without regard for refrigerant recovery."

I doubt the veracity of that statement as the refrigerant can be sold for big bucks.

Nancy Drew - the issue is mixing household trash with RECYCLABLES. Sara already explained that. It's just common sense that having recyclables mixed with trash is going to render some amount no longer recyclable.

Sara - you are right on. C-ville and Albemarle Co. are in the dark ages as far as recycling goes. It's just not available for people to do without a lot of effort, so they don't do it. So this handy dandy all-in-one trashbag is just THE answer. So that people still don't have to think about their trash. Because that seems to be the goal -- any way so that we don't have to think about what we throw away.

Okay guys and gals - first things first;
what you call it isn't as important as what is actually being done. Allied collects recyclables in curbside bins, trash in another. Recycling goes to a transfer station here, then to a MRF in Tidewater. Trash goes to a landfill. Haulers using Van der Linde collect trash and recyclables in one bin. It all goes to the MRF here, where machines and workers sort through both the recycling and trash for marketable recyclables.

Which method is resulting in the higher recycling rate for our area? Which method is keeping more trash from ending up in a landfill? That's the question you need to ask yourself.

waiting and waiting...

Depends on what you mean by mixing. I use a hauler that uses Van der Linde. I toss most of what I think is recyclable directly in the bin, then toss the 'bagged" household trash from my kitchen in. I assume most people do that. It's not like I'm throwing a big open pile of mixed up recycling and food waste in there.

Really, this resistance to what Van der Linde is doing is so stupid...

If you're concerned about things being separated, not contaminated, then separate them, clean your recyclables, make sure you bag only food waste and what you're sure can't be recycled....then put it in the big'll make van der Linde's job easier!

Heck, you can just drive it out there yourself.....did you know that? You can hand deliver it, in little gift boxes, label each recycled item, place them in the proper bin for processing, help him bail the cardboard.....seriously, though, there's a DEQ-approved and monitored recycling processing facility just down the road! Hello!?

I googled single stream and got this:

THE KEY WORD IS RECYCLABLES "NANCY" are either misinformed or defending vanderlinde by an alias. I am feeling a bit put off by this...This is really not an argument point. I am trying to do what's right and people keep taking advantage of the public....ONLY charlottesville calls trash and recyclables SINGLE STREAM.

Single stream (also known as “fully commingled” or "single-sort") RECYCLING refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection truck, instead of being sorted into separate commodities (newspaper, paperboard, Corrugated fiberboard, plastic, glass, etc.) by the resident and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single stream, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of RECYCLABLES, with materials being separated for reuse at a materials recovery facility. that is what i found on google. the local definition is silly.....the bigger question is why so much bluster about a very basic fact? I am TRYING to HELP here...I am one of the good guys....why do you keep attacking me??? Your facts are not correct. Cheers.

Since I am being curiously refuted again and again, it makes me wonder if people also know that since vanderlinde crushes all in one truck - there's no point in separating at home. it's all a crushed clean bag is thrown in with all. i am sure he is a nice fellow but he cannot possibly recycle as much that way....the people he has picking through his trash might agree...a darn mess... is anyone doing any research or just reading The Hook and thinking they got independent experts to tour vanderlinde as well as allied facilities and make an appraisal?! the only quote was vanderlinde, and allied has not even spoken yet on this....i moved here to be in a progressive place not a reactionary one. I hope they let some more info out on this....people deserve to know more now that this topic is alive in the community... cheers.

The simple and best solution is to do exactly what the city of Charlottesville does. It's called "the best of all worlds." Provide for the option of sorting for those city residents who wish to avoid cross-contamination. Make it as easy as possible for people to sort by way of a curbside recycling program in which you can dump all recyclables in one bin. Keep the McIntire Recycling Center open for people who prefer to go that route. Then send all remaining trash to Van der Linde, who pulls recyclables out and burns much of what's left over. Voila. Far less waste into landfills, at less cost, than the previous system.

WIKIPEDIA - Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

Generally, there are two different types: clean and dirty MRFs.

A clean MRF accepts recyclable commingled materials that have already been separated at the source from municipal solid waste generated by either residential or commercial sources.

A dirty MRF accepts a mixed solid waste stream and then proceeds to separate out designated recyclable materials through a combination of manual and mechanical sorting

A dirty MRF can be capable of higher recovery rates than a clean MRF, since it ensures that 100% of the waste stream is subjected to the sorting process, and can target a greater number of materials for recovery than can usually be accommodated by sorting at the source. However, the dirty MRF process is necessarily labor-intensive, and a facility that accepts mixed solid waste is usually more challenging and more expensive to site.

+1 for van der Linde Recycling

-1 for sara

Just trying to help the discussion!


Look, for one of the good guys like you, there's a recycling processing facility right down the road. Local haulers have taken advantage of it, so can you. It's an alternative to taking things directly to a landfill. Is it messy? It sure is! But why exactly do you have a problem with that? Also, aren't the DEQ figures with regard to collection and recycling amounts for Allied and Van der Linde in the article above an answer to your questions about needed research?

In 2010, van der Linde recycled 12,938 tons of material, Allied Waste recycled 4,725 tons of material.

Also, the article itself clarifies and explains the misunderstanding about the definition of single-streaming that you are arguing about in the comment I'm not exactly sure why you are arguing about it and providing us with the results of your Google searches.

question 1:
I was ASKED by "nancy" to google Single-stream. So I did to make a point.
#2: Yes it is messy, but single steam is not.
#3: problem? no problem other than being attacked for trying to share what I have seen.
#4: Next, as for "your" numbers, I have lived with the right way to recycle and I am confident that if folks look at both facilities and their numbers people may be happy they have a choice besides you/them at vanderlinde. whose numbers are they? why doesn't UVA enviro-science or the EPA or a local non-partisan look? BUZZ, I have watched communties improve themselves. Some real research would be awesome because it's so obvious..... For the last time, charlottesville is alone in this magical trash idea. i am sure it's good for construction, but it's ridiculous to think V is better for this community. ha. it makes sense V recycled more (IF they did?!) as they have more haulers. If people used single stream, DUH, it would be higher....and that's why I am supporting their efforts. on a lighter note, i adhered to the request not to use any word stronger than "darn!"....relax. give their single stream a proper chance. geez....i see no harm in that.

You know, after doing a little research, I discovered something kind of funny...when single-stream recycling came on the scene, its was criticized in various studies for the same reason Allied and sara are criticizing the throw it all in one bin approach...that it caused contamination of recyclables. Then, of course, sorting technology improved and put that argument to rest. Hmm....

"For the last time, charlottesville is alone in this magical trash idea"

Throwing trash all in one bin works in some cities

Hey, look, the same discussion from like 20 years ago

The City of Toronto plans to build a new waste processing facility
As part of its 'Getting to 70% Diversion' Plan the City of Toronto is seeking to pre-qualify contractor/ technology vendor teams for the Design, Build and Operation (DBO) of a mixed waste processing facility capable of diverting at least 75,000 tonnes per year of residual municipal waste from landfill.

Hey, sara, this makes your case pretty well...but, of course, its from 1997

Everyone here defending the process van der Linde claims to use is justified in doing so. The problem is, they have all "take the guided tour" but not investigated.

Open the current edition of "Yellowbook USA" the "other" phone book. In his ad, van der Linde boasts over 90% trash recycling. This is simply not true even in van der Linde's own words yet he has authorized this advertising.

Allied is understandably fighting back because such propaganda has caused many customers to leave. van der Linde's claims are inflated and inconsisent.

Rango, you should go to van der Linde regarding air conditioners/ refrigerant recovery. See if they show you the machine, licensed personnel, storage tanks, etc, and records he is required by Federal law to keep of all suppliers of items containing refrigerants. They don't exist. He has work-release inmates with no license handling these items. There may be value in the refrigerant, but, it has to be clean-up to have value. R134a is the predominant refrigerant for items back to 1995. If a hermitic compressor fails that refrigerant is rendered useless due to acid contamination. R12 is somewhat more valuable, there again, with compressor failure its ruined. And, federal law prohibits use in mobile applications of recycled R12 (ie cars) so there really is no market for recovered R12.

Buzz, vanderlinde is better than nothing and that's what is good about it.
It's obviously not as good as single stream. that is SO OBVIOUS. it's unavoidable.

Your links were nice but missed the point. single stream compared to tiring multi-separation and how mixed use helps. That is not always offered. Take a trip to both facilities recycling facilities. Or have you already (wink wink). relax. or keep trying to sell us?! :-). i have kids to deal with right now...

To The Hook and Fellow Commenters,

My name is Danielle, and I work at a locally based non-profit that tackles sustainable products and packaging world-wide. I have a background in developing recycling industries and local municipal recycling programs, and wrote my master’s thesis on recycling economics. With that said, the comments that follow are my own, and not of my employer.

You can find a definitive answer to “What is Single Stream Recycling” here:
which was written prior to publication of this article (and includes talking points that I don’t delve in to below).

Single stream recycling is NOT putting everything in one container. It is a TWO CONTAINER system, where trash goes in to one can and recyclables in another. This includes Boulder County, CO. They are putting all of their recyclables in to one container. They previously had a three-container system where trash went in one container, and recyclables were in two. This is called dual stream recycling.

There is no previously adopted term for sending your trash to a dirty MRF. The term single-stream recycling has been co-opted in Charlottesville for this system. Nationwide and industry wide, single stream recycling is a two-bin system. Understandably, this causes confusion for Charlottesville area residents that hear about how popular single stream recycling is nation wide.

You have to consider total environmental impact when making any assessment. The more contaminated an item is, the more processing that must be done to clean, pulp, bleach, etc. to make the material acceptable for re-manufacture. And yes, while Allied owns landfills, they also make a profit off of recyclable materials. The higher the quality of the material, the higher the price they will fetch at market.

Regardless of the type of system you use in Charlottesville, the materials are baled and sold to markets across the region, country, or world. Much of the material collected anywhere in this area (regardless of your service provider) ends up in the tidewater region for both re-manufacture and shipment to markets elsewhere.

Sara- you rock!!! I fully support everything that you have said! You are exactly right about what Single-Stream Recycling really is. The rest of these people are wrong (especially the Hook!)



A video tour of the Van der Linde Recycling facility.


Be happy we are putting it in one bin for pickup and not burning everything we can then burying the rest on our neighbors property. Just let it go.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The EPA number is all I need to see. The model Van Der Linde uses results in a 40% increase in total stuff recycled. However much we'd like for everyone to be diligent about recycling everything possible the reality is the vast majority of people are not. Arguments about how everyone should are nice but not rooted in reality.

Wow. This certainly isn't the usual crowd & the imported crowd seems to sing with a single voice. Wonder where they come from...

Hitler? Really? Godwin's law in a comment thread about recycling and trash? I'll be done with the internet for the day, thanks.

I'm definitly not imported from Allied Waste.

Personally, I think Allied is an was asleep at the wheel...

Before van der Linde opened not working harder to recycle, or open longer hours like van der Linde, or price more competitively.

And they are way late now fighting back. Its their snail's pace that gave birth to van der Linde.

Did anyone ever notice on van der Linde's website before he opened he was going to call it Evergreen Recycling?

There already was (and is) a small business called Evergreen. Pete apparently called the guy up and said, guess what, I trademarked your name. Now I'm Evergreen. The young man had to get an attorney, etc.

Van der Linde allegedly stole from Albemarle/Charlottesville residents by mis-declaring waste origin, agreed to pay RSWA over $600,000 to settle the allegation, then LOCATED HIS BUSINESS IN FLUVANNA COUNTY.....YES VAN DER LINDE IS A FLUVANNA BUSINESS...

So he claims to recycle. He claims to be a do-gooder. By the same token, is a do-gooder in the form of a doctor to be allowed a free pass on sloppy work, false advertising, and fraud?

Get over it. Recyclers are not untouchable. They must conduct business ethically and without moral turpitude like all of us.

All this van der Worship is really retarded.

What a waste...........


if by now they don't have private investigators following all of van der Linde's landfill trucks.

They are unmarked but easy to spot.

Always Mack tractors pulling aluminum trailers. They are required by Federal DOT laws to have the name on the truck but not all of them do. If you look at the mudflaps you'll see they are custom lettered sometimes. The Mack Pinnacle tractors are lettered but the older Mack CH models are not.

You will see them as they leave Zion Crossroads and make their way east on I64 then south on state route 288, typically emptying out at "Shoosmith Landfill."

The construction waste landfill trucks are toting large orange trailers, they typically travel I64 east to exit 173 where to empty out ironically at at Republic-Allied facility, the "623 Landfill" at 1961 Ashland Rd, in Rockville, Va.

Its like Allied is so dumb the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand. Van der Linde is a Republic Allied customer there but an adversary here.

And by the way that picture of noodles would actually be "source-separted" recycling. Those are clean noodles with no contaminants. They, as pictured, are eligible for food-waste composting. They don't look like that when they go in the garbage all mixed up with tampons, coffee grounds, motor oil bottles, condoms, sneezed on tissue, cigarette butts, ejaculated condoms, insulin needles, old shoes, dust-pan spoils, watermellon crust, old issues of the Hook tabloid,NEWSpaper, broken tv's containing lead, paint, dental floss, hocked loogies, old medications, shell casings, batteries, AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF VAN DER LINDE MAGICALLY AND PERFECTLY RECYCLES!!!



I'm not buying it.

Here is a picture of a van der Linde truck entering Shoosmith Landfill.

Note the markings on the mudflaps. If you don't believe me go to van der Linde and see this unit (one of many) for yourself

Honeycomb, Your credibility is somewhat lacking after your photo link. That's a picture of a truck from a Washington Post article on mother's search for her missing daughter. If you had taken the picture yourself I'd be more likely to believe your explanation, but it seem pretty unlikely that a Post photographer just happened to catch a Van Der Linde truck doing somehting wrong, and even at full size the mudflaps aren't readable, so you're really reaching there. If you do have real information regarding something improper, then why are you posting here rather than simply going to the appropriate authorities.

No listing for a trademark owned by VanDer Linde here. The only Evergreen Recycling listed is in Arizona. Even if Van Der Linde has registered a trademark with the word "evergreen" in it, it wouldn't give him exclusive rights to use that word and should have no effect on an existing business's right to keep that word in its name, so another credibility fail for Honecomb.

saywha like I said, get off your keyboard and go to van der Linde's yard. You will be able to find that actual truck unless of course by now they have removed the telltale "2524" and other markings.

That is a van der Linde truck.

You are correct, it is not doing anything wrong. Just another drive to the landfill.

You are also correct that the story is from a Post article. Maybe your monitor is low-res, I can read it fine.

The purpose of my picture is to get everyone clued in on what the van der Linde outbound trucks look like.

another Hook misprint....what slobs

As Van der Linde points out, Republic operates over 200 landfills across the country,

including the largest, an Indiana mega-dump that receives 20 tons of trash a day. In Virginia,


Sure I know a simple error, but man you guys are slobs. This is not journalism. You are promoting the guided tour.

and this

"For example, metal cans are now smelted in vats at 16,000 degrees, eliminating virtually every contaminant"

from Peter van der Linde. Aren't you curious, you know, to ask the obvious question....
Mr. van der Linde do waste cans from your facility go into this process?
Notice how van der Linde describes the process but seems to be careful not to actually say HIS cans go into this process. If they do, where? Show us the documentation that they went here and not....ooops SHOOSMITH LANDFILL!!!

saywha? WROTE

"why are you posting here rather than simply going to the appropriate authorities."

Please tell us who the "appropriate authorities" are?

It's not against the law to landfill, in fact Virginia solid waste laws make it hard to recycle legally. Whole nother story.

There really are no official "appropriate authorities"

The customer is the appropriate authority and deserves transparency.

While we appreciate all your comments, please refrain from posting under multiple identities. It's not fair to those who use this comment section responsibly. And while it's the Hook's policy not to reveal information on IP addresses, know that it is very easy for us to determine who is using multiple identities.

Thank you.


watching Allied Recycling video

what idiot throws spaghetti away? that's a leftovers goldmine baby! taste better even the third time down... and who the heck reads newspapers anymore... another obsolete point... left over spaghetti for lunch, not wasted... check. no newspapers in the house, have you some internet? check and check.

Van der Linde is a dirty MRF. They separate some recyclables out of mixed municipal solid waste. But if the recyclables are contaminated (wet or still contain food) they won't be salable for recycling. Dave, you didn't go into where van der Linde sends its waste to be incinerated. That's an interesting story, because we get all the resulting air pollution. Incinerating msw is not good for the environment. Why don't you check it out?
Others on this thread are correct that in order to have the recyclables be worth anything, they have to be pretty clean. Source separation accomplishes that.
C'ville is very far behind communities that today manage to divert 78% of their msw from landfill or incineration. Communities that manage this feat source separate recyclables and separate food and yard waste for composting. That's the cleanest, best use of resources, and there isn't any good reason why C'ville couldn't do this also. That means moving away from a dirty MRF model.

My last comment was deleted. Let me offer this: I suggested this story was well not researched. Let me put it this way, Mr. V can say anything he wants. So, perhaps if there is going to be a story this incendiary, I would seek a third party to counterbalance heated talk where facts are concerned.....

Susty fan,

What communities divert 78 percent of their msw from disposal? I'd really like to know. And how exactly would the city implement a source separation recycling program? Do you mean abandoning single-stream recycling, and going back to the way we used to source separate?

Also, if households produced close to zero waste, that would keep stuff out of landfills. But is our society really going to do that on a large scale? Are we really going to be like the Japanese?


I believe the problem is you just keep making these claims, but you provide no evidence. What facts are you talking about? Mr. Van der Linde can say anything? What does that even mean? You say single-stream recycling the way Allied does it is better than sending stuff to Van der Linde....but you provide no evidence. You just say its better. Prove your point!

Sara, exactly what statements in this article are wrong ?
This is a well researched article by an excellent journalist .

oh my gosh,

Vanderlinde does NOT do single stream - yawn.

I could call my bicycle a harley but I don't...maybe I should? "-)
It's their own homegrown bastardization of the term used and defined by nation wide as a single stream of *recyclables*.
it's not all trash in one. Zzzz...

One quote of many you mentioned: "However, according to Peter Van der Linde, Allied's new "separate, don't contaminate" ad campaign is just the last gasp from a company tied to an outmoded way of handling trash– and to its own landfills.." I guess the EPA and all major cities are "outmoded".
And Honeycomb, among others, including Danielle with a local enviro group on this comment list, have line itemed fact issues with this piece by your journalist. Look, this does not need to be ugly. It's just that this article is not gospel, and a learned public might be interested to learn more. The posters that keep questioning my posts seem unable to let those of us just seeking an option to recycle more have it. Vanderlinde can do what they want, but they should not misrepresent...Let's not be myopic. Options are nice to have? Do you think the city of charlottesville touts single stream because they are lacking facts? I am not mad, but I hope you gain from this and stop looking like a company shill and yell at me every time I post....You dig a hole a little deeper (pardon the pun) every time you do because more people write more and more....soon a new article will be from this comment list alone :-) about, who cares what it's called? What matters is where trash and recyclables end up. According to the EPA (and one can read their data without depending on any reporter or commenter at all) the method used at Van der Linde's facility increases the total amount of recyclables actual recycled.

exactly, chris, who cares what its called!

sara, we are recycling more as a community because of van der linde's's facility. Did you look at the numbers from the DEQ in the article? Now Allied is ramping up its recycling efforts BECAUSE of competition from van der linde. And who says there's anything wrong with single-stream? Let them battle it out. Its you that are saying that single-stream is better than all in one. And you're using the same argument thats been used against single-stream, as compared to source separation, in that it causes contamination because everything is mixed together. So why is single-stream so great now? Because sorting technology had made it possible!

lordy Nancy drew and Buzz. No one is going to take away your livelihood so stop being so defensive. the hook wrote the article you wanted. it's just the people that know more that are adding to it. you all seem way too close to this. a minute ago you said vanderlinde (time, dixon etc) was single stream. now you say who cares...oh my. is anybody reading this....ha. i could go on for days with you. A lot of the "technology" you speak of is people with masks and gloves on from south america. some places need more employees. some with single stream need less....get uva involved or danielle above to walk you through it. vanderlinde meant well at first with his construction etc. but focus on the future. hear me now, believe me later. if you continue like you are going to end up making vanderlinde, time, dixon look worse.

Sara, we will keep saying this until you get it --we are as a community recycling more because of Van Der Linde - less trash is going to the landfill from our community - can't you even bring yourself to admit that. Look at the facts in this article, this is journalism; it is not meant to sell one company or method over the other, it is meant to educate us as to the facts of which method produces more recycling NOW. And others are competing by trying to ramp up recycling thanks to Van der Linde. Obviously you are the one unable to see the forest thru the trees. We should all be applauding what Van der Linde has accomplished.

If we were to just throw out all the previous comments and attempt just to use common sense -
"single-streaming" would be a better term for what Van der Linde is espousing, as it literally involves a "single" stream of waste, whereas Allied's system involves two streams of waste. That's what's confusing.

I have been to the van der Linde facility as customer and I was troubled that you are charged $10 to "recycle" an obsolete tv, yet I saw a Caterpillar excavator with a claw smashing the televisions (about 1 doz at a time) then loading them into an outbound trailer. I saw this happening in the C/D building. I personally told Peter van der Linde and he responded "its not against the law, is it?"

Also disturbing, even though van der Linde has a sorting line for MSW, the very design of the facility barricades the recycle carts behind a mountain of trash when they get busy....and they are VERY busy. How can they empty these.

Most disturbing of all, many times I have witnessed direct transfer of MSW into outbound trailers, with no personnel on the sorting line.

Mr. McNair, I know you are reading/editing the comments, and also you chime in from time to time with comments, please tell us who the four individuals are who own Better Publications LLC, publisher of The Hook. Should shed some insight.

Of course what van der Linde is doing is better than nothing, but he has no right to make false claims. Even though the competitors are "big companies" their employees are local people who make an honest living.

A dirty MRF is never going to achieve a rate much better than where it is now. Above 90% of municipal solid waste is resources-- paper, cardboard, metals, plastics and glass-- that should be reclaimed.
You have to source separate to get clean recycling streams with any resale value. If you throw your recycling in with your food waste and it all gets crushed together by the garbage truck with your neighbors' garbage, not much of it is going to be salvageable.
San Francisco is one community that is already at 78% diversion. Marin County is another. Seattle is currently at about 60%. There isn't any good reason C'ville cannot be more mindful of resources and achieve the same rates.
But you can't get there with a dirty mrf that allows mixing of recyclables in the same bin with food and other trash. C'ville can do much, much better and ought to start now.

According to your article, 2/3 of van der Linde trash gets burned. (You say 1/3 is recycled and the rest is burned). An $18,000 receipt from Harrisonburg does not support this, not even close. Harrisonburg's gate rate is $60 per ton. Even if VDL is getting a special deal, he is not even close with this number. Wind generally blows west to east, who says burning trash west of here is good for us anyway?

Sunlight has an amazing way of disinfecting things.

Shed some light on this:

van der Linde is invited to show us the last years worth of receipts from Harrisonburg, Shoosmith Landfill, and the purchasers of recycled commodities. Recycled commodities must be differentiated by origin MSW operations or C/D operations, so that stuff reclaimed from Construction Demolition can not be mis-represented as having come from MSW.

The front office door at van der Linde stays locked. They keep very little cash on hand, so why do they need to keep the honest people out?

Meant to write that you can only divert 90% if you not only recover materials like paper, metals and plastics, but also compost food and yard waste.

Hey Nancy,
you mean well (I think?) so let me try to help you one last time since you are confused....

If the Hook wanted to write a follow-up it would be a nice photo of (your) or Time, Dixon, Vanderlinde's trucks with single stream on them. And then see who else thinks that's what it is but you. Bless your heart and your good intentions, but just your definition does not cut it in modern sustainablity and recycling circles. Remove charlottesvile from your google search and the first ones I found. All require a single stream of RECYCLING.

My kids drop the things all in one bin too. No biggie. Vanderlinde is a nice service for construction but you cannot define it yourself and declare it better :-)
"as it literally involves a "single" stream of waste, whereas Allied's system involves two streams of waste. That's what's confusing..."

Let me help you.It is a SINGLE STREAM OF RECYCLING.
This is the 2012 defintion...I hope that helped.

Sara and Susty fan make sense.
Anyone who knows anything about recycling knows that yes, what VanderLinde is offering is better than no recycling.
But we could do so much better than that - if the city of C-ville and Albemarle County would actually choose to THINK about what is actually happening to all our trash. But I know that's a tall order.

Let's see, according to the DEQ, Van der linde's facility collected 68,565 tons of C&D in 2010, and recycled about 56,000 tons of that. Allied collected 1,824 tons and recycled none. In addition Van der linde recycled 12,938 tons of MSW (which includes recyclables), while Allied recycled 4,725 tons. What is this argument about again?

VdL apparently has an excellent rate of recycling on C&D materials. That's fantastic. Given that, naturally folks involved w/C&D will send their building waste to VdL.
Unfortunately, the easy way for residential trash -- mixing all waste together in one bin-- is not the best, most effective way of capturing recyclable materials. Notice that the City has completed a very successful pilot program in Greenbrier to separate recyclables from other household waste, because they know they can divert more valuable materials for recycling that way and get higher prices for it.
I think most folks would agree it's increasingly important to achieve much higher rates of reclamation from used materials. So let's do it! The improved recycling efforts begun in Greenbrier will be rolled out to Belmont and Woolen Mills next. That's the way to go.
Dave: does VdL sell msw to Harrisonburg? Surely that msw has value as fuel for Harrisonburg? I'm interested to know more.

Susty fan,

Actually, according to an a independent waste management expert I spoke to for an upcoming article about the Greenbrier pilot program, it depends on what your goals are. If you want a cleaner recycling stream, he says that separating them from household trash is better. But if you want to keep more trash and recycling from ending up in a landfill, then putting in all in one bin is better. Interesting food for thought, so to say. Maybe everyone is right.

As for the MSW sent to Harrisonburg, Van der Linde actually has to pay to dispose of waste there, just like he has to pay to dispose of waste at a landfill. The idea is that the waste ends up getting used for something, ie producing energy (the plant supplies heat and cooling for JMU), instead of ending up in a landfill.


After talking to that expert, I should also ad that a lot depends on the way a particular MRF like Van der Linde's is operated, and how effective a hauler like Allied is at getting quality recyclables where they need to go. Hard data on what our recyclables actually end of becoming, and exactly how much is actually re-purposed, is hard to come by. There doesn't appear to be a way to monitor that, as the material passes through so many hands. But I think that's the kind of data that the recycling public deserves. So we'll work on that!


Dave, thank you for replying.
I wish you would research the emissions coming from the Harrisonburg plant. I do not believe it meets the most stringent standards for particulates, dioxins, mercury, etc. I think it rather amazing we turn a blind eye to the pollutants we are pumping out right over the heads of JMU students, and that contribute to haze, asthma rates, mercury contamination of surface water & etc. for the region. Many landfills are producing methane that is also burned for energy, but neither incineration nor landfill is a good solution for the enormous problem of waste. It's just the status quo and what we are stuck with for now.
Have you read Edward Humes' new book Garbology? I haven't finished it but it's eye-popping. Recommended to all of you interested in waste issues.

Sara is exactly right regarding single-stream recycling. The recyclable items need to be clean and dry, then put into a bin. Trash must go into another bin. It is impossible to sell dirty recyclables. I've been recycling for nearly forty years; I've done a lot of research; I even consulted the EPA. Perhaps more interesting to readers here is that I wrote to a friend of mine who is the recycling coordinator for a medium-sized South Carolina city much like Charlottesville and here is what she replied:

"Dirty material recovery facilities which is what's being operated {Vanderlinde] are not generally well thought of in the recycling community. They contaminate recyclables, (making them useless), require tremendous amounts of manual labor (creating a workman's comp nightmare) and enable citizens to be lazy regarding recycling (promoting a lack of accountability which is already prevalent in our society). All that said, there can always be an exception and this may be it. A site visit and thorough review of data would be necessary to determine the truth."

Neither Vanderlinde nor Allied gives tours, but Vanderlinde's Web site clearly indicates that most household waste they bring in is burned. Vanderlinde's construction facilities look good, but his "Throw everything into one bag and we'll do the work for you!" is euphemistic at best.