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Archive for Sunday, January 6, 1991

INTEREST IN RECYCLING INCREASES DEMAND FOR CITY PROGRAMS

January 6, 1991

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It still looks a lot like Christmas at four locations at Lawrence locations.

For the past two weeks, Lawrence residents have been dropping off their Christmas trees at the four sites for city workers to grind into mulch. Although it was too early to tell if this year's effort will produce a record collection, City Parks and Recreation Director Fred DeVictor said increased public awareness has led to high participation in the program, which ends Monday.

"Our first impression is that more people are responding this year," he said.

The Christmas tree drop-off sites are the Fire Station No. 2 parking lot, 1941 Haskell; Broken Arrow Park, 29th Street Terrace and Louisiana Street, in the main parking lot between the shelter and the ball field; Centennial Park, off Rockledge Road, the parking lot west of the tennis courts near the rocket; and Lyon Street Park, Seventh and Lyon streets, in north Lawrence.

THE DONATED Christmas trees represent the gift that keeps on giving to the parks and recreation department. The mulch produced from grinding the trees is used to landscape flower beds and parks around town. DeVictor said the program reclaimed 73 cubic yards from Christmas trees donated last year, which meant the city did not have to buy as much landscaping material.

"We're saving tax dollars in a sense," he said. "The Christmas tree program supplements but does not meet the needs of all our wood chips. But we can use it all."

The secondary use of Christmas trees marks the beginning of an ambitious year for recycling in Lawrence.

Patricia Marvin, city recycling coordinator, has outlined several goals she hopes to accomplish in 1991. Those goals include educating the public to reduce their household hazardous waste, continuing current recycling efforts and speaking to schoolchildren about recycling.

MARVIN SAID citizens "demanded" the city help provide information and assist with the disposal of household hazardous waste, which includes cleansers, insecticides, motor oil and paint. That demand led the city to establish a temporary, monitored drop-off site for such materials, where 1,740 gallons of motor oil were collected in 1990, she said.

During the winter, the drop-off location, which is at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, is open the first Saturday of each month.

Marvin said she would like to expand the city's drop-off site services this year.

"We hope to have a permanent site by September for cardboard, yard waste, motor oil everything," she said.

Last year the city began the pilot Earthbound program for yard waste. The program was a mix of voluntary drop-off and city collection of grass clippings and leaves. Marvin said 600 people voluntarily dropped off their clippings, and that a total of 248 tons of yard waste was collected.

INCLUDED in that tonnage figure, she said, were two tons of shredded paper collected from city offices and businesses. The paper helps absorb moisture in a compost pile, Marvin said, adding that more recycling can be done at the workplace as well as at home.

To that end, Marvin will conduct free waste audits at businesses to see what waste products can be recycled. An example of sellable waste material, she said, were the alumnium scraps at a shop that does picture framing.

"That's nice change, plus you have less waste," Marvin said of selling the scrap aluminum.

In the immediate future, however, it appears that programs such as Earthbound and Christmas tree donations will continue to be voluntary. In the case of Christmas trees, the sanitation department does not have a reliable "chipper," the equipment that grinds the trees into mulch. Because a chipper costs from $10,000 to $15,000, home pickup of the trees for use in the program is not in the offing.

MARVIN SAID that successful recycling was not contingent on convenience.

"People think for a recycling system to work, that it has to be convenient," she said. "But that's not true. For the system to work, the product has to be recyclable. And then it has to be convenient."

Marvin said she welcomes calls on any recycling question. The city's recycling information number is 843-0811.

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