Paul owns Paul’s Industrial Garage (PIG) of Hagar, Wis., located just across the Mississippi River. He collects commercial waste in Red Wing and trucks it across the bridge to its own transfer station. Other haulers also use PIG’s transfer station, directing even more flow to Wisconsin.
After working nearly 20 years as a welder building recycling dumpsters, Paul purchased a dump truck in 1990. He started servicing 13 residential customers in Diamond Bluff, Wis. and expanded his business over the years to meet the needs of commercial customers in other municipalities along both sides of the Mississippi River. He has approximately 3,000 customers of whom more than 2,000 are commercial entities such as factories, restaurants, taverns, groceries and farms. Paul serves about 25 commercial businesses in Red Wing from which he hauls about 20,000 pounds of construction and demolition waste per week. It represents about 20 percent of his total business.
Paul’s business is also more sophisticated today than when he started. After picking up the trash, his employees now separate it at the curb or at his transfer station in Wisconsin into (1) recyclables such as glass, plastics, aluminum and papers that they deliver to the Pierce County Recycling Center in Ellsworth, Wis., and (2) non-recyclable trash that is transferred to larger trucks and transported to a private landfill in Eau Claire, Wis., 77 miles east of Hagar City.
There, the landfill operator, Veolia Environmental Services, recovers methane gas and sells it to Dairyland Power, which then transforms the gas into electricity that is distributed by the Eau Claire Energy Cooperative. The cooperative has 9,500 members and services 25 distribution cooperatives in Eau Claire and 20 municipalities. In addition to providing enough electricity to power 2,600 homes, the renewable methods used reduce emissions by the equivalent of 13,000 tons of coal.