WJBF EXTRA: Who's Digging Your Trash? - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

WJBF EXTRA: Who's Digging Your Trash?

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North Augusta, SC -

"Funny things go through here," Denver Mckenzie says of his work place, a material recovery facility; that is somewhere that takes your trash and tries to save materials--and the environment--by sorting out recyclables.

Trash.  To most people it's icky, sticky, and stinky

"You name it and it goes through here, it gets dumped on this floor," Mckenzie says.  "If the people of North Augusta can throw it away, we see it."

"Always 10 hours a day, moving, moving, moving," Jason Sikes says of the plant's operations.

On your list of things to think about trash probably isn't the top.

"People live such busy lives and don't think about what they put in the trash," Sikes says.

After all, isn't that the beauty of trash?  You -trash- it and it goes away?

"It doesn't just magically go into outer space," Sikes counters.

When you throw away your trash you think about your trash you probably think it all ends at the truck, and nobody will ever see it again. Well you'd be wrong:  For Richmond and Aiken counties it goes to the MRF where inmates and employees sort it.

"People go through that trash to sort it, recycle it," Mckenzie explains.

Even then, why do you care?  With some things you probably don't.

"Soda bottles, cans, papers, hoses, electrical cords," Sikes says.

But with others:

"Credit card deals, if you get a deal and it has a card, don't just throw it away, cut it up," Mckenzie says.

We saw those deals along with medical bills, realtors records, and canceled checks.

"Tear it up, tear it up, shred it, do something with it," Mckenzie says.

Your name.  Your address.  Maybe even your social security number. You could be setting yourself up for identity theft, and that's not just trash-talk.

"I shred all my documents," Sikes says.

"Tear it up, shred it, I have a shredder, I shred it up and throw it away," Mckenzie says.

They say they aren't worried about the ride that trash takes to get recycled when it's sorted by inmates, because they are vetted, supervised, and searched, but it still just isn't smart.  Identity theft is no joke, but what is the strangest thing they've seen?

"The strangest thing I've seen…would be an alligator," Sikes says.

So, don't throw -that- in the trash either, but they say even crazier than the things people throw away, are the things they waste.

"You just won't believe how much stuff people throw away that could be recycled," Mckenzie says.

"A lot of people say it's just a soda bottle or it's just an aluminum can, I see that as a commodity the city can take and two things, make some money for the sanitation department and two keep it out of a land field."

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