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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 1992

EARTH DAY TAB

April 21, 1992

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Some are buying back aluminum cans.

Others are serving as collection sites for throw-aways such as old plastic jugs, Styrofoam or wire hangers.

And still others are starting in-house recycling efforts.

Many local businesses have been jumping on the green bandwagon, either by launching internal recycling programs or by collecting recyclables in the community, says Pat Marvin, the city's recycling coordinator.

"Office paper recycling is one that has taken off like mad this year," Marvin said. She said about 100 offices have started internal programs to recycle office paper this year.

"Even the small companies are doing office paper recycling," she said.

She said many local restaurants also are finding ways to conserve resources and recycle materials they use.

For example, Tin Pan Alley, 1105 Mass., no longer serves water unless customers ask for it, Marvin said.

ONE OF THE largest one-shot recycling efforts during the past year was initiated by Southwestern Bell, which collected about 72,000 telephone directories in its Project ReDirectory in December and January.

The project, which coincided with the delivery of new telephone books, was the first time a directory recycling program was attempted in Lawrence, said Mike Scott, community relations manager for Southwestern Bell.

Residents were encouraged to turn in any type of old telephone directory beginning Dec. 5 at Dillon's grocery stores, Lawrence elementary schools or at Southwestern Bell's building at Seventh and Vermont.

Besides Dillon's, other sponsors were Yellow Freight and Central Fiber of Wellsville, Lawrence Paper Co., Cottonwood Inc., the city of Lawrence and Lawrence School District 497.

COTTONWOOD Inc. collected the books from the different sites and brought them to a trailer at the Dillon's grocery store on West Sixth Street.

Once the books were collected, Yellow Freight delivered the directories to Central Fiber in Wellsville, where they were recycled.

Scott said the 72,000 directories that were recycled weighed 41 tons.

"That would save 697 trees, 103 barrels of oil and 123 cubic yards of landfill space," he said.

Some local businesses also are serving as everyday collection sites for various materials.

Within the last year, The Mail Box, 3115 W. Sixth, has been accepting Styrofoam "peanuts" that are used in packing.

"If people bring them in, we go ahead and use them for our packing. That way they just get recycled," said Chris Nichols, a clerk at the store. "They don't biodegrade very well. We have a lot of people actually bring them in."

SCOTT SHMALBERG, vice president of Scotch Industries, 1026 Mass., said the company has been collecting plastic dry-cleaning bags at its five retail stores for about a year. More recently, the Scotch Fabric Care stores began collecting hangers for recycling.

"The plastic bags are shipped to a company that recycles them into garbage bags," Shmalberg said. "The hangers, if they are clean and reusable, we will use them internally. If they are beyond use, they are shipped off for scrap."

Shmalberg said recycling efforts have been going well.

"We've been real surprised at the amount of plastic bags we're getting back," he said. "The hangers we've just started in February. It's in its infancy, but it's also going very well."

Among the major centers for recycling in the city are Lawrence's three Dillon's grocery stores. The stores buy alumnimum cans and also serve as recycling collection centers for plastic bottles, jugs and styrofoam food containers.

"I THINK it's very successful in Lawrence," said Ron Good, manager of the Dillon's store at 1015 W. 23rd. "You can tell over the last few months that people are getting involved and have more of a concern about recycling."

Ron Kelly is in charge of Dillon's recycling program out of the company headquarters in Hutchinson. Kelly said the program is set up to recycle the company's own cardboard and paper sacks and the aluminum cans, plastic jugs and styrofoam that customers bring into Dillon's 63 stores in Kansas.

The cardboard recycling program was started in 1972, he said. Cardboard boxes containing food items are bundled into 400- to 500-pound bales shipped back to a paper company in Hutchinson that recycles it into brown craft paper and cardboard tubes for paper towels, he said.

Dillon's has been an outlet for buying aluminum cans since 1980, Kelly said.

"WE HANDLE about 2 million pounds a year," he said. A workshop for people with disabilities converts the cans into 32-pound "biscuits," which are shipped to a smelter in the New Orleans area.

The aluminum is broken down and reassembled molecularly and is then recycled and used for other drinking cans within 45 days, he said.

Dillon's has been recycling plastic jugs and bottles since 1990, Kelly said.

"We're getting almost a million pounds a year of plastic beverage containers that the customers voluntarily leave in our stores," he said. Those are shipped to Hutchinson and baled by the handicapped workshop. The plastic milk jug bales are shipped to Tulsa, Okla., where they are made into plastic pellets, which are then used in manufacturing other non-food containers.

The bales containing soft drink containers are shipped to a North Carolina company that uses them to manufacture carpet fiber, he said.

"You may be walking on a used pop bottle," he said.

DILLON'S ALSO has been collecting Styrofoam food containers, such as egg cartons, for about a year, Kelly said.

The containers are baled in Hutchinson and shipped to a company in Dallas that remanufactures them into new egg cartons, he said.

The company also accepts used plastic grocery bags for recycling, as long as they are dry, clean and empty. They are taken back to Hutchinson, where they are baled and sent to a plant in St. Louis that makes them into garbage bags.

The company also encourages customers to re-use brown paper bags, by deducting 5 cents from their total bill for each re-used bag or for using a canvas bag, Kelly said. The stores also collect old paper bags, which are baled in with the cardboard.

WAL-MART'S new store at 33rd and Iowa streets is expected to be an environmental prototype for the company.

The site plan for the store, revealed to the Lawrence City Commission in March, featured an enclosed 2,052-square-foot recycling center on the southeast corner of the site.

A drop-off lane outfitted with bins for the separation of colored and clear glass, alumnium, cardboard and three types of plastic was planned for the west side of the recycling building.

The site plan also showed an area set aside for composting, where local residents could bring in their grass clippings and leaves.

The structure is also expected to be built of as many recycled materials as possible.

Mike Benson, Wal-Mart's local manager, said he doesn't yet have details to announce about the recycling plans for the new store, which would replace the current one at 2727 Iowa.

Meredith Miller, project manager for the Center for Resource Management, Denver, a non-profit environmental advisory board, said the board has been working with Wal-Mart on its new store in southern Lawrence.

Miller said the store will reveal its plans at the official ground-breaking ceremony, which will be at 8 a.m. April 27.

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