CalRecycle Cleans Up Paradise, Recycles Metal Debris

CalRecycle’s contractors in Butte County have just recovered their 100 millionth pound of scrap metal from the Camp Fire debris in Paradise. For perspective, the Statue of Liberty weighs 450,000 pounds. The wildfire debris cleanup contractors averaged recovering the equivalent of one and a half Lady Liberties per day in metal since the cleanup started in February. 

Nevertheless, metal is the smallest classification of debris being removed from the fire area and redirected to disposal sites and collection centers. Ash and burnt debris, concrete, and contaminated soil take up most of the truckloads; metal is a relatively scant 1.4 percent of the 3.6 million tons of debris collected. Despite being the smallest category, it’s important, because unlike ash, metal is recyclable.

CalRecycle, under its mission to protect public health and the environment, ensures that these millions of tons of debris are safely disposed while maximizing the amount of recyclable materials recovered, especially metals. Cleanup crews gather and separate metal material to reduce the amount that will end up in landfills. The crew then washes it to clean off as much debris as possible before it is loaded into a dump truck and taken to a collection facility. 

Burned vehicles by the way, were counted separately from scrap metal. More than 23,000 burned vehicles of all types have been recovered and delivered to the same collection facility in Oroville as the scrap metal. 

How many truck loads has it taken to move 100 million pounds of recovered metal? More than 35,000! The dump trucks have a weight capacity of 10 tons, but they can only get about a ton and a half in each truck. Metal debris doesn’t lie flat and compact like soil or ash, so there is a lot of empty space in each load. To quote a veteran of many debris clean up projects, “Scrap metal is fluffy.” 

Check out this video to learn more. 

Camp Fire Metal Recovery YouTube video

— Chris McSwain
Posted on Oct 25, 2019

Summary: CalRecycle’s contractors in Butte County have just recovered their 100 millionth pound of scrap metal from the Camp Fire debris in Paradise.