As part of Hallmark Cards' recycling program, the plant has set up a large display in conjunction with Earth Day, which is today.
The last thing members of manufacturing departments at Hallmark Cards of Lawrence want to see is Gene Norman carrying a bright pink laminated sign.
If Norman finds a trash bin that has more than seven items of recyclable material inside, he places a sign on the bin and sends it back to the department.
The signs say "reject" on them.
Members of the department must then go through the trash bins and remove the recyclable materials and place the items in recycling bins before the trash bin can be emptied.
"We weren't particular with anybody," said Norman, a dock specialist and a member of Hallmark's recycling team. "We do random checks" on all three shifts, he said.
Asked if the program makes some department members angry, he said, "Some do. Some say, 'We're not going through that,' and we say, 'Yes you are.'
"We've had very good support from our management team all the way up to the plant manager," Norman said.
The trash bin inspections began about a year ago.
So far, about 20 bins have been sent back to departments, Norman said.
The trash inspections are part of an extensive recycling program that began at Hallmark plants in the mid-1980s, said Susan Rodgers, environmental administrator at the Lawrence plant.
Norman speculated that the Lawrence plant recycles about 50,000 pounds of paper, cardboard and other materials per day.
"We've probably reduced our trash by two-thirds over the last several years," he said.
As part of Hallmark's recycling program, the plant has set up a large display in conjunction with Earth Day, which is today.
The display will contain recyclable materials used at the plant, items at the plant made with recycled materials, and household products that can be recycled.
"We try to make everyone aware about what can be recycled," Rodgers said.
She said Hallmark recycles for three reasons: It's the "right" thing to do, it saves the company landfill costs, and it helps make money for the company through the sale of recycled materials to collection companies.
Molly Mangerich, operations supervisor for the waste reduction and recycling division of the city, said several companies in the area have enacted similar measures. The companies include Packerware and Communicolor.
Of 20,000 tons of materials that were recycled in 1998, more than half was recycled through private businesses, Mangerich said.
"It truly is a collaboration between both private and public sectors in Lawrence," she said.
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