Region 5 Pilots Contracted Recycling on Delta Fire

  • By Lara Buluc, Regional Sustainable Operations Coordinator, Regional Office, Pacific Southwest Region

Recycling bins, netting and a dumpster wait for customers at a fire incident base.

Triple Flare, a recycling service, sets up recycling bins, cardboard collection and a dumpster to gather all the waste produced at the Delta Fire in McCloud, California. (Photo courtesy of Triple Flare)

In September 2018, USDA Forest Service Region 5 piloted a contracted recycling service on the Delta Fire in McCloud, California. The contractor, Triple Flare, provided waste signage, receptacles, bags, and recycle stations for the incident (Incident Command Post, support locations, spike camps, etc.) This included all labor and equipment (trucks and trailers) to remove the “recyclables” off site to a processor.

The following materials were collected: cardboard, paper, water bottles, cans, glass, #2 rigid plastics, bottles, jugs, jars, wood, vegetative food waste, metals, tires, e-waste, and cooking/motor oil.

During the four day Type 1 Pilot, Triple Flare achieved a 45.7 percent waste diversion rate resulting in 120 cubic yards of recyclables separated from the waste stream. This included 48 cubic yards of corrugated cardboard, 20 cubic yards of comingled recycling (e.g., tin cans, metal, #1 and #2 plastics, etc.), 32 cubic yards of California Redemption Value (CRV) bottles and cans, 48 gallons of cooking oil, and 20 cubic yards of used tires. The $400 recycling proceeds from the CRV recyclables was donated to the Siskiyou Opportunity Center.

While this is the first such contracted incident recycling process implemented in Region 5, Regions 3 and 6 have also achieved success with this alternative to in-house or volunteer/partner-led recycling efforts. Of particular note is Triple Flare’s work on the Klondike Fire in Region 6 where they have achieved waste diversion rates of 41 and 44 percent at the Klondike West and East Camps, respectively. Since August 2, Triple Flare has recycled almost 125,000 water bottles and cans for a return of $12,000 to be used for local forest fire suppression through the Forest Service-Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.