Recycling project celebrates anniversary

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Purdy R-II School District's recycling project is celebrating its third anniversary in a new 2,520-square-foot recycling facility that is located on Gabby Gibbons Drive near the baseball field.

"Our new building is nearly fully functional," said Gerry Wass, Purdy Spanish Club recycling program sponsor. "The outside signs are up, and we have the space we need inside to store materials."

The Purdy School Community Recycling Center, which opened in December of 2008, is designed as a customer-friendly facility. Community members who drop off recyclable items are encouraged to view the building during open hours.

"We want to share the fascinating knowledge of how each piece of the process works," said Wass. "The front end of the building, away from the machinery, is designed for customers and workers. We are still happy to help senior citizens bring their materials into the building."

This spring, the recycling center will be open from 2:30 to 3 p.m. each day after school in addition to the first Saturday of each month. Individuals should only drop off recyclable materials when a worker is available to accept items.

"We have landscaped our building with daffodils that should be blooming within two months," said Wass. "We don't want our beautiful building to ever have a trashy look."

Over the next few months, the recycling project will be looking for a second baler that will be used for plastics, tin and aluminum. Plastic bottles will be stored in the second baler to free up space in the recycling facility.

"Every box or bale of material is now weighted before it is loaded on the truck, and we are figuring out how to get more paper into our boxes," said Wass. "Everything that should be baled will be. We used to have to ship plastics, aluminum and tin in cardboard boxes that did not weigh much."

Last year, the recycling program collected 61,697 pounds of recyclable material. Students have helped recycle nearly 200,000 pounds of material since the project began in January of 2006.

Accepted items include: aluminum cans; cardboard; #1 and #2 plastics; sorted white paper; catalogs, magazines and junk mail; used books; used cell phones; feed bags; newspapers; and tin cans.

Students ask community members to make sure containers are empty, lids are removed from bottles, materials are sorted, and plastic liners are removed from feed sacks. The recycling project is no longer accepting plastic bags and cannot take glass at this time.

The Purdy Recycling Project, which was founded by the Purdy High School Spanish Club, was developed to give students an opportunity to participate in a community service project that would also help the environment.

This year, over 30 high school students and eight middle school students are participating in the project. Many students serve over 50 hours of community service through the project each year.

The Purdy Recycling Center was constructed using grant funds from Solid Waste District Region N.

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