WRAP Report For December 13, 2013

Here’s the WRAP report that was submitted for December 13, 2013:


Walpole Recycling Action Project

Remember the days when, as kids, we got up on Christmas morning at the first light of dawn for the excitement of seeing our tree and what Santa had left for us. We tiptoed, not making a sound lest we wake Mom and Dad; they’ll surely come and spoil our adventure!


Well, Christmas is here again! As we prepare ourselves for the frightfully frenetic festivities ahead, let us all pause to give thanks for our many blessings. Let us all be thankful for our Walpole Recycling Program; a program respected throughout New Hampshire and admired by neighboring towns. Let us be thankful also for Paul Colburn and Paul’s productive people who staff the Recycle Center; people who have created and innovated this past year to accommodate the needs of our town in the face of unforeseen events such as the demise of our local Wheelabrator plant in Claremont.


Let us be thankful as well, for all the Walpole people who have adopted a RECYCLE attitude, dumping the dreaded “DUMP” mentality. We are especially thankful for recyclers who carefully check out and FOLLOW the signs at the various recycling bins; not simply “dumping” a bag or box of miscellaneous “stuff” into the first bin they come to!


At the heart of all this is an understanding of what RECYCLING really means. When we have finished with our daily newspaper for example, we can take it to the Recycle Center where Paul’s productive people find a BUYER for your discarded paper. That buyer takes it to his plant where it is shredded, bleached, dried and, when combined with many other similar papers, is made back into rolls of fresh, clean paper that the buyer can then SELL back to the newspaper. That’s the whole idea: Paul finds buyers for stuff we no longer need and those buyers clean it, often reformatting it to suit another purpose, and SELL it to a company that needs it – and everybody is happy. By selling recyclables, Paul saves us tax dollars, and by re-purposing those recyclables, the buyers hire people and make a living. And finally, if you were the Keene Sentinel (for example) would you rather buy your newsprint from a recycler (cheap), or cut down a couple hundred acres of trees (much more expensive to both your newspaper AND TO THE PLANET)??


All this happy selling and buying activity however, is based in the premise that what is being bought and sold has NOT BEEN CONTAMINATED. A buyer for #2 plastic (milk jugs and the like) WILL NOT BUY from us if what we offer has been contaminated with #1, #3, #5, etc. plastic. Here’s why: a big vat of “pure” #2 plastic can be cast into a very large number of nice, new milk jugs, but if the vat has been contaminated with #1, #3, etc. plastic, it just turns into glop and can’t be cast into anything. The buyer suffers a huge loss and Walpole’s Recycle Center is black-listed!


Follow those signs on the recycle bins – it’s VERY important.


The same principle applies to slick magazine paper and “general office” paper. If it is “contaminated” we can’t recycle it (can’t find a buyer for it). Until recently, I had thought that “paper was paper.” Well, it turns out that the big machines that clean and shred recycled paper, CAN NOT clean or shred WRAPPING PAPER. RIBBON clogs up the shredders and brings the whole operation to a halt. So, our Recycle Center has a rule: NO WRAPPING PAPER – NO RIBBON – NO SCOTCH TAPE or WRAPPING TAPE. Just chuck that sort of stuff in your yellow Walpole Bag – not a big deal. If the buyers for our “general office” paper find that our supply is CONTAMINATED with wrapping paper and ribbon – that IS a big deal – for you and for me – directly!


It’s been an active, interesting year – a good year. We here in Walpole do have a lot for which to be thankful. Do set aside some time this season for love, thoughtfulness, generosity and thankfulness – and don’t lose sight of the “Reason for the Season.”