03/31/04 — Grants awarded to recycle school paper

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Grants awarded to recycle school paper

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 31, 2004 2:04 PM

A new program in Wayne County plans to reuse the paper in the schools, reduce the amount being dumped in the landfill and, at the same time, help disabled people.

Two Wayne County nonprofit organizations will each receive $25,000 in state grants to start a recycling program in the public schools.

The $50,000 from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources will go to Keep Wayne County Beautiful and the Wayne Opportunity Center.

The two organizations submitted an application for the grant after realizing that a partnership would allow them to start a paper and cardboard recycling program in the schools.

"A major dilemma that we had in starting a school recycling program was how to get the material collected to an intermediate processor and how to cover the transportation costs," said Simonne Cato, KWCB director.

Ms. Cato said the Wayne Opportunity Center, which provides jobs for the disabled, was willing to pick up the recyclables at the schools for free, in exchange for getting to sell the recycled materials.

"This should provide a cost-effective program for all parties," she said. "The revenue generated from the sale of the material will off-set the hauling costs for WOC, and reducing the school system's waste stream will reduce disposal costs to the school system."

KWCB will be responsible for educational outreach, overseeing the program and assessing its progress.

Recycling paper, Ms. Cato said, was an obvious start for the program because the abundant schools use some much of it.

She said that Anderson County, S.C., implemented a paper and cardboard recycling program in 56 public schools last school year. "They diverted 1.1 million pounds from the landfill," she said.

The school recycling program, which will begin in August, is just one of KWCB's recycling programs.

In the past year the organization has sponsored three collection days for old electronics. A total of 40 tons of electronic equipment were collected for recycling. The service was provided at no cost.

"There are counties providing this service, but it's costly," said Ms. Cato. "Wake County pays $78,000 annually to get rid of this equipment."

The 40 tons collected this past year could have cost Wayne County between $17,000 and $21,000.

KWCB's ongoing cartridge recycling program also diverted one ton of material from the landfill and brought in nearly $2,500 in revenue for the organization.

"I guess you could say recycling makes a ton of difference," said Ms. Cato.