Lawrence's recycling coordinator learned more Tuesday about what's happening to promote her cause, and she liked what she saw.
Pat Marvin, who heads environmental efforts for the city, and about 15 other people got an up-close view of a new computer network for recycling information.
The creators of MARTIN Mid-America Recycling and Transportation Netowrk visited City Hall, bringing with them the system that allows anyone with a computer and a modem to access information about recycled materials.
Developed by professors and research assistants at Iowa State University, MARTIN is a computer-based data management system that provides current market information to recyclers and users of recycled materials. The system covers Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.
IT PROVIDES information on availability, shipping costs, quantity and container specifications.
For example, Marvin used the system during the presentation to find out where tires can be taken in Kansas for recycling.
John Even Jr., one of MARTIN's creators, said the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Iowa State researchers a $100,000 grant for the project.
Asked how MARTIN came about, Even said, "We were responding to an EPA opportunity. The EPA was looking for research on alternatives to landfilling, how to change the manufacturing system to one that relies on recycling."
Even said that not all of the bugs have been worked out of the system. The toll-free number computer users may use to access MARTIN is 1-800-437-8932. MARTIN is online from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays.
ANOTHER recycling tool Marvin learned more about was the Kansas City area's Surplus Exchange. The exchange allows businesses to get rid of their surplus equipment and help non-profit organizations at the same time. Materials from paper clips to office furniture are recycled through the exchange.
Bruce Holland, a representative from Surplus Exchange, said surplus materials collected at businesses are stored at the exchange's 45,000-square-foot warehouse in Kansas City, Mo. They are then distributed to non-profit agencies for a handling fee, he said.
Holland said the exchange is "keeping recyclable and usable materials out of the landfill. . . . It's silly for us to keep putting things in the landfill. We just have to be real careful about our resources."
Marvin said she was interested in a similar venture in Lawrence because such an exchange is "advantageous to both industry and non-profits. It's kind of a win-win thing."