After six years of working on Saturdays, the student-run recycling center will now be open each Tuesday from 3:30 till 6:30 p.m.
"We know that we have to have more convenient hours if people are going to bring us more materials," said Esmeralda Pérez, recycling coordinator for the Purdy High Spanish Club, which runs the program. "We will soon announce plans to invest more of our profits into community development, so we need to take as much money as we can out of the trash."
Part of the effort is to better teach customers to help sort their materials effectively. Jacey Staponski, club vice-president, said sorting is critical for the program.
"It doesn't do us any good to get more materials if we can't keep up with sorting them," said Staponski. "White paper is worth $100 per ton but mixed paper is only $15 per ton. If our customers will come into the building and work with us, we can show them how to sort effectively."
"Sorting our Way to the Future" is the club's new slogan.
Patrick Foland of the Utopian Bean Coffeehouse wants to encourage this new effort. "Last year the Purdy Recycling Program was named 'Best School Paper Recycling Program' in the nation by the American Forest and Paper Association. We want to help them receive that award again, so we'll be offering a $1 off coupon to everyone who brings them 25 pounds or more of sorted paper during the month of January."
Customers will still see the familiar green banners on the street but now it will be every week, and the new hours will start on Tuesday, Jan. 3, even if updated banners are not ready.
Students are excited about the new chapter in the story of what is apparently the only school-based industrial recycling program in the nation.
"We believe that the Purdy community is throwing away many thousands of dollars in the trash every month," said Crist--bal Ibarra, Spanish Club president. "We think our fantastic customers can help us recycle more of that money into the community if we can do our part to be more effective."
Residents in neighboring communities are also welcome to bring their recycliables to the Purdy Recycling Program. The club's sorting facility is located on Gabby Gibbons Drive on the east side of the Purdy Park.
For more information, call the Purdy School District at 417-442-3216.