JEFFERSON CITY - 8,417,020,000. Quite a big number wouldn't you say? Well, that's how many total pounds of waste the Missouri Department of Transportation has either recycled back into our roads or kept from area landfills since 2005.
Let's break it down. MoDOT has recycled 3.56 billion pounds of industrial waste from mines, steel furnaces and power plants, as well as shingles and tires over the past five years. Industrial waste is usually disposed of in landfills, but MoDOT has recycled every pound for future uses. Area landfill managers tell MoDOT that 3.56 billion pounds is the equivalent of 89,000 semi-truck loads that would fill the Empire State Building four times.
"There's no reason to dump materials into our landfills that can be recycled," says Joe Schroer, MoDOT field materials engineer. "MoDOT embraces being green and we're getting better at it every day."
Adding to the grand total is reclaimed material. Many of the miles of pavement you drive on and projects you see across Missouri are made of recycled material; in fact, MoDOT has recycled 4.86 billion pounds of reclaimed material that's been used on construction projects since 2005. Not only does this help our environment, it saves taxpayer money too.
MoDOT's environmental efforts continued to grow over the past five years with 2009 being the greenest. Last year, more than two billion pounds of waste from construction projects was recycled. In addition, 6.2 million pounds of waste material (paper, cardboard, aluminum, electronics) was recycled.
"MoDOT wants to be a leader for recycling, conserving and being environmentally aware," said Schroer. "We hope to increase our efforts in the future."