WRAP Report

This just in from Charles Blount…

W.R.A.P.
Walpole Recycling Action Project

It’s been a long, cold winter.  All the wood for the wood stove has long since been burned up and it’s cold in here as I write this.  It’s even colder outside, and there’s a stiff, biting wind that just cuts right through you.
Mom and Dad Robin arrived a few days ago.  I have been feeling very sad for them; they’ll starve, since all the earthworms must still be frozen stiff like little pencils!   Well, Spring MUST be on the way now.  Mama Robin, just outside my window, pecked diligently at the ground and came up with an earthworm; not a big one mind you, but enough for her to live on for a while.  What a winter this has been!
As good stewards of our planet, we surely aren’t interested in spoiling it with trash.  We make a serious effort to REDUCE our trash by being very careful about what we buy and how it is packaged.  We also REUSE items that others might throw away, and we RECYCLE (repurpose) items where possible (that empty aluminum soda can might end up as part of the wing of that jet you fly on your next trip to Miami).
The REDUCE part of the equation is the responsibility of each one of us, individually.  Our town can’t  help us there; WE have to do it!
Our town CAN help us with the REUSE part of the equation.  The Walpole REUSE Center is up and running again as of last week.  As we come into the Recycle Center out on Drewsville Road, the first thing we see is the big, blue trailer to the right of the main building.  Really, – a Big Blue Trailer?  Yep; that’s the home of the Walpole REUSE Center.  That big blue trailer is unheated, so it has to shut down every winter.  TRIVIA: What is the biggest thing that we REUSE again and again?  The Walpole REUSE Center’s Big Blue Trailer, of course!
OK, so how can we use the REUSE Center?  Well, for example, there, in the garage is Robbie’s bicycle. He rode that thing everywhere back before his family moved to Walpole. Now, living at the top of a long, steep hill, it just isn’t used anymore. Besides, Robbie is now a sophomore at college in Pennsylvania and gets around in a used VW. His dad is too out of shape to make it up that big hill, and mom won’t ride it – after all, it’s a boy’s bike and I hear that no self-respecting girl would ride a boy’s bike – you know how girls are!
Anyway, Roger will be starting the 4th grade this fall; he doesn’t have a bike – yet.  Mom sees just what he needs at the REUSE Center and, after making a small donation to the local Food Shelf, heads home with a bike that will last Roger until HE goes off to college.
The object of this whole REUSE process is to prevent that bike from becoming a part of the solid waste stream that spoils our beautiful state, and our planet.  Please go to Walpolerecycling.com/reuse-center/ to see a list of what is available there.  And, the next time you are out at the RECYCLING Center, stop by the REUSE Trailer to see, first hand, what is there – you’ll be amazed!  Speak with the good people there, the volunteers who man the center, to see how you might join them as a volunteer – just two hours per month.  This can be your way to “Pay It Ahead” to the town that does so much for us all.
Now, a quick note on the RECYCLE part of the REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE equation.  The recent reduction in oil (and gasoline) prices has been just great for our family budget.  But that same reduction has caused dislocations in the raw materials world.  Plastic, like that used for water bottles, is called “PETE” and has a resin code of “1” (that’s what the “1” in the triangle tells you).  At the most basic level, PETE is made from oil along with some other chemicals.  That’s why the plastics world is in competition with the heating oil and gasoline world – same basic resource.
When oil prices were high (the past few years) plastic companies bought their PETE from recyclers like us (and thousands of other towns around the US – and Europe, too).  The recycled PETE was cleaned, shredded, chemically melted down, some more chemicals were added, and then it was recast into bottles.  There you have it; the life-cycle of PETE.
But, when the price of oil drops (as it has recently), the plastic companies can make their PETE directly from oil at near, or even less cost than they could make it by processing recycled PETE.  If the plastic companies don’t pay us for our recyclable PETE we are faced with either storing it somewhere, or paying to have it dumped in a landfill.  Once in a landfill, it will be there forever – plastics do not biodegrade!
Given the current raw materials market, plastic companies can afford to be really picky about the quality (purity) of our recycled PETE.  In order to avoid having our recycled PETE end up in a landfill, we have to be just as “picky” as the plastic companies about the purity of what we take in.
At least for the time being, we just can no longer take in those “clam-shell” containers, or PETE items that are not in a “bottle” format (where the top (opening) is smaller in diameter than the base).  And we cannot take in PETE items that we cannot see through.  (They don’t have to be “clear or colorless,” but we have to be able to see through them.)
Uncomfortable as these changes are for you (and for us) they will keep the “purity” of our PETE recyclables at a level where we should be able to continue to sell our recycled PETE to the plastic companies.
Now, one final reminder: the REUSE Center is in need of volunteers; please stop in to see all the good things they have in the Big Blue Trailer, and learn what it means to be a volunteer there.  Pay It Ahead.

WRAP report for March 2015

Joe Beer sent along this WRAP Report

Peanuts Anyone?

If you’ve been wondering where you might find free packing peanuts or free bubble wrap, wonder no more. The Recycle Center, where else. Brown paper bags, plastic bags, random magazines and books are also available. Come in and browse around; you might even decide to signup as a volunteer. Volunteers are always welcome; and signing up would be a two for one: you’ll be doing a little bit of community service; plus, volunteering at the center saves us all some money.

If you don’t have time to donate, maybe you have food to donate? The Recycle Center has setup a box for donations of non-perishable food items for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf, which finds itself in a moment of need. A little help there would be most welcome; on your next trip to recycling, just inquire within as to where to leave your donation.

The Recycling Center’s budget will basically be the same as last year, though there will be a separate article on the town warrant requesting money to repair the burn pit. The pit is about 15 years old and in need of both reinforcing and repair. The article will request funds up to $10,000.

Next door to recycling, the ReUse It Center brought in $3,273 last year. That money comes in the form of donations as people take away items that they can re-use. All monies go to the Fall Mountain Food Shelf. The center is managed by Mike Nerrie; a considerable thank you to Mike and other volunteers.

You might have noticed a new face at the Recycle Center. Bob Martyr has joined the crew, in amove over from the town highway department. Bob and his wife recently moved from Arizona to NewHampshire. What would bring the two of them here? Beautiful downtown Walpole. No surprise there. And family that had previously moved to the area. Understandable. And the weather. Say What? They were plain old sick and tired of triple digit heat. No, that doesn’t sound pleasant at all. Besides, who can not love fluffy snow or the fresh chill of a still winter morning……………… though it’s possible that some of us could take a touch of April right now.

WRAP Report for February, 2015

Carolyn Norback sent along this WRAP report for February, 2015.

While preparing my W.R.A.P. report for February, 2015, I was struck by the similarity of the weather conditions of 2014. A polar vortex x2 happened and is now on the verge of being the same for 2015. Now we are asking the question, why do we continue to live in New England? Here are a few reasons: 1) We don’t like to admit defeat, (we’re tough); 2) No need to hunt for conversation starters (everyone wants to talk about the weather); Provides the answer to “cold enough for you” and the excuse to repeat that old “saw, if you don’t like weather now, wait 5 minutes”. Not to beat a dead horse, yes it is very cold, but here at the recycle center we volunteers and staff are toasty warm. We owe all this delicious comfort to the wise stewardship of Paul Coburn and his staff by reusing oil brought to the center to keep heating expenses down to about $70.00/year.

So even though Jack Frost is out and about, I am still very enthusiastic about volunteering at the center. The 2 hours always fly by. Since I’m mostly there early Tuesday morning, sometimes we start slow, but then traffic builds up and we can hardly keep up with counting cars. Yes, every truck, van, car and suv is counted, so the select board knows how useful and busy the center is. With holiday parties and celebrations the center is up to the elbows with products to recycle. Many thanks and kudos to those separating refundables, makes sorting plastic, glass and aluminum containers go faster. FYI, if you’re not sure about where to look on the container to see if it refundable, the plastic and glass bottles (beer, wine, soda, water and sometimes juice) can be found somewhere near the label, sometimes on the side or bottom, and sometimes they may be hard to see. The aluminum cans are usually found on the top near the tab, and any volunteer and staff will be happy to point it out. If your loyal to a brand that is refundable and has VT stamped on it, makes it much easier for you also. Any can plastic or glass container is refundable as long as VT is stamped on it along with other states. Of course we have lots of volunteers who will take California refundables to California, not so much to Maine this time of year. Oh, yes the caps, please try to remember to remove them from the container and deposit them in your yellow Walpole trash bags. There is always room for more volunteers on the schedule. Sign up if you fancy a friendly, warm and welcoming environment in which to give back to the community.

Wrap Report

Joe Beer sent along this WRAP Report:

 

Know Your Vitals!

There are some things a person needs to know. For example, Americans generate 4.38 lbs of trash per person, per day! Of which they recycle or compost 1.51 lbs. That’s a lot of trash. But, big question: where does the missing 2.87 lbs per person per day go? Think yellow bags, then landfills.

California has done it again. The state just banned the use of plastic bags, the first such move in America, though not a novelty in other parts of the world. Why would Californians do a thing like that? A plastic bag has an average life usage of about 20 minutes, store-to-home. The average length of time it takes for a plastic bag to breakdown is about 1000 years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The US goes through about 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually” which amounts to “an estimated 12 million barrels of oil”. That’s a lot bags and a lot of oil. Maybe re-usable shopping bags are good idea.

And how is the recycling effort going here in hometown Walpole? This year is shaping up to be a very average year in both expenses and income. Total expenses to run the Walpole Recycling Center for the year are about $320,000 (labor, equipment, facilities, processing recyclables, get rid of the yellow bags, etc….). But, because we recycle, the town “earns” about $180,000 per year in recycled materials. So about 2/3 of our trash expenses are recovered by minimizing our use of those yellow trash bags.

This spring the Recycling Center will once again be selling screened compost, of which they expect to have about 120 cubic yards. The cost will be about $10 for a small pick-up load and about $20 for a large pick-up load. The Center does donate free compost to schools and community gardens.

As a last note, Tom Fitzgerald has just retired from the Recycle Center this October. Tom, the main man on the baler as well as on many other miscellaneous tasks, has been with the Recycle Center since 2007. From all of us Walpolians, a collective: “Thank you, Tom, for all your years of service; and we wish you the best as you enter a new phase in your life.”

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap Report for October, 2014

Carolyn Norback sent along October’s WRAP report:

My last volunteer stint at the recycling center, I again found myself deep in the sorting of plastic!!!! One would think it should be an easy shift, sorting plastic, especially since most bottles or containers are relatively clean and easy to toss. Look for #1 or #2, each to it’s own box. Easy peasy, right! After two hours of sorting you kind of think, should I be going faster? How come it takes so long to sort? As soon as a load comes in, it should be gone quickly. Well here’s the answer. The center realizes a fairly lucrative amount of money from returnable plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles. Handling each can and bottle to determine the returnable from the rest is time consuming and labor intensive. More experienced volunteers are much faster at sorting and I expect to become more proficient as I gain more experience.

 

And then a very nice recycler handed me a bag and said, “these are all returnable”. Wow, a real eye opener. I talked to Paul Coburn about maybe designating a box just for returnable items, plastic, glass or aluminum. Well Paul thought it would be more confusing to add three more boxes for people to sort into. Then I thought back to conversations I’ve had with different people who do recycle and wish they had more time to volunteer at the center, especially since I’m so enthusiastic about volunteering myself. Then I talked again to Paul and said since I’m reporting on this months WRAP, we could use this forum to enlist volunteers in another way, asking recyclers to put their returnable items in a separate bag. I don’t think to would take much more time, since you’re recycling anyway, and it would certainly free up volunteer time to do more at the center. It could be a win-win situation, good for the center and good for people who want to volunteer but are time strapped.

 

If you do have time and would like to volunteer, glass crushing is a really cool thing to do. Battery packing can be exciting, they haven’t yet let me at the cardboard, but I’m looking forward to that. The best part of being a Recycle Center Volunteer, is working with Paul, Paul, Greg and the other volunteers. And if you get picked as volunteer of the month, you get a free lunch. What could be better?

 

Carolyn Norback

WRAP Report for September 2014

This in from Charles Blount:

One of the really wonderful things about living in Walpole is the willingness of the people to share their resources, time and talent for the benefit of their neighbors and their town. Actually, the same could likely be said about many of the small towns in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Consider for example, the Bandstand on the Town Green; a gift to the town in memory of Judy Bailey. Consider the beautiful new ball fields up on the North Meadow and the Veterans Memorial on the Green. These are among the THOUSANDS of gifts our town has received over the years. Consider the refurbishment of the flagpole and its huge golden eagle up on top (gifts of time and talent); these too are gifts to the town, for all of us to enjoy.

Consider those who serve on the School Board, the Planning Board, the Library Committee and the Recreation Committee (among others). These people also give a gift to our town – a gift of their time and talent. They don’t undertake these assignments in order to get rich, or to get even so much as a penny. Their gift of time and talent benefits all the people in our town, but most especially, our youngsters. Hundreds of volunteer hours go into the coaching of our Walpole girls and boys basketball teams, soccer, baseball and swimming teams. All these gifts make Walpole a wonderful place in which to live for all of us, for our children and, in due course, their children.

Volunteers are absolutely necessary for many of the functions and services available here in Walpole. We have a recycling program here that permits a family to dispose of their household trash at a cost of about $100 per year. Were they to opt for curbside pickup by a commercial firm it would likely set them back about $600 or $700 per year. Thanks to the Walpole Recycling program, this saving is available to ALL the families in our town. So how can Walpole afford to provide a service that would otherwise cost us at least six times as much? There are two factors: (1) Recycling, and (2) Volunteers.

Recycling means accepting newspapers, plastic, cans, cardboard and the like and SELLING it to firms that melt it down, shred it up, etc., making it into a resource resell-able as a raw material to businesses and industries. (Where do you suppose the Keene Sentinel gets the paper on which it prints the newspaper? And where do you think the plastic for those milk bottles on the grocer’s shelf comes from?)

Volunteers means that we (the town) could not afford to run a recycling center in which all of the work was done by paid employees. At that sort of labor cost it wouldn’t make any sense to operate a recycle center and we’d ALL have to pay that $600 – $700 per year!

All this really only addresses the cost and convenience issues but, for many of us, there is a larger issue: the environment and our planet. Every milk jug recycled is one milk jug that does NOT end up in a land fill where is does not (CANNOT) decompose.

In my view, we all have a responsibility to give back to our town; a responsibility – a DUTY. For those who can, there are projects that need to be funded (that lets ME out!). For those who can, there are refurbishment projects (like that big beautiful eagle on top of our flagpole) that require special talents (that lets ME out!) But for “regular” people like me, there are opportunities to volunteer at the Walpole Recycling Center (that I CAN do, and DO – two hours each month).

Just call Paul Colburn at 445-5197 and speak with him or one of his people – OR, JUST ASK ONE OF YOUR NEIGHBORS WHO ALREADY VOLUNTEERS at the Recycle Center. It’s your DUTY – OUR DUTY to give back to the town we love so much!

Wrap Report For May

Charles Blount sends this along:

At the top of the recycling news this time is the Grand Re-Opening of Walpole’s Re-Use Center. The Re-Use Center is that blue trailer on the right as you come into the Recycling Center. It has to be shut down each winter since it is unheated – but now, The Grand Re-opening! We all know about the Recycling Center but, you ask, why do we need a Re-Use Center too?

There are things around home that you no longer use. You hate to take that sort of thing to be just “disposed of,” after all, some of the things that you no longer use are quite valuable. What about Anna’s cuddly doll; it’s perfectly good still but Anna left for college two years ago. Same thing for Christopher’s little red wagon; he’s driving a Chevrolet now and besides, at 250 lbs, he won’t fit in the wagon any more! What about pots and pans, dishes, serving trays, good books and DVDs? If Dad brought a fancy new mixer home for you, what would you do with the one you’ve been using for years? You can’t really use these things any more, but perhaps someone else in our town really COULD use them.

Consider a young family that was burned out of their home this past week. They have a sudden, urgent need for a cuddly doll, a little red wagon, and a set of dishes. What happens when your kid breaks a leg; you have a sudden need for a set of crutches. Now, I don’t know how much a set of crutches costs, but when Paul gave me a tour of the Re-Use Center last week, there, in the back room, were several sets of crutches.

So, if you need these crutches what do they cost you? What about Anna’s cuddly doll, or Chris’s little red wagon? For some, less expensive items like these, the only cost to you is a reasonable donation to the local Food Shelf – in an amount that you can afford and that you are comfortable with. For more expensive stuff, like Chris’s stereo set he couldn’t take to college, or grandma’s old jewelry, it is sort of like a tag sale. The cost to you for these more expensive items, while still really small, helps to fund our local Food Shelf. With the number of our neighbors unemployed or employed only part time, the Food Shelf needs all the help we can give it. House fires, divorces, sudden unemployment, unexpected relocation and all sorts of other family events (including broken legs) come up, resulting in a need for cuddly dolls, red wagons, a set of dishes or crutches. The Re-Use Center is there for you – take advantage of it! Take a look through it to see what is there for you. You see, this is what your Re-Use Center is for; meanwhile, it helps US to support our Food Shelf, something we really need just now.

So, what do we citizens (taxpayers) have to do to have our Re-Use Center? We have to volunteer; not all of us of course, but enough to man the Re-Use Center every Thursday and Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM. The same thing goes for the Recycle Center, too (but it’s open three days: Tues, Thurs and Sat). We had two more volunteers start at the Recycle Center last month but we surely could use another three or four. And of course, now with the Re-Use Center Re-Opening, they will be needing some more volunteers as well. It’s just two hours per month; yes, per MONTH (not per week, or per day!). We who volunteer are “Paying it Ahead” for our home town, and we would like to have you join us; help enable us to make our Recycle Center and Re-Use Center serve all who live in our town.

Here’s an ITEM for you: A Thank You to all who brought their used motor oil in to the Recycle Center this past winter. Your Recycle Center did not have to spend a single DIME to heat the center – used motor oil did it ALL. One Tuesday morning in January it was 9 degrees BELOW zero outside; it was just fine inside the center. I know; it was my volunteer day. Paul sends a Big Thank You. We volunteers send a Big Thank you, too!

WRAP Report

Carolyn Norback sent along this WRAP report:

Kudos to the staff and volunteers at our recycling center for working through and surviving the Polar Vortex x 2. I hope we have seen the last of that phenomena.  December and January were not the easiest months to get through, even though there is heat in the center, made possible by reusing oil brought to the center. (P.S. the only expense regarding heat is a $70.00/year electric bill). I had a very interesting and pleasant conversation with Paul Colburn in preparing this update. For the upcoming new year, Paul tells me the budget has been prepared for town meeting, there will be no new articles put forth. While maintaining the status quo, he is always on the lookout for new products to recycle and buyers for them.  Outlets for our recycled products are both local and world wide. Check out the Walpole Recycling Website at walpolerecycling.com. The website is a treasure trove of pertinent information. If you have a question about what can or cannot be recycled, it’s on the website, if you have a question about volunteering, the schedule is on the website, want to know when the Reuse Center is open, that’s on the website too, and so much more. Thanks to Jill Robinson who does a great job of posting new information and maintaining the website.

Gentle reminders, only plastic with a 1 or 2  code can be recycled. Please follow signs on the recycle bins, this is very important as contamination of product is always a concern. Bottle caps go in your Walpole bag.  Traffic control; if you are only dumping trash in Walpole Bags, stay on your left, if you only want to access the recycle bins, stay on your right; if you want both you must choose where you want to start (left) and then drive all the way around to your next stop on the right; if you start (right) then drive all the way around to your next stop on left. Please do not drive diagonally across from trash to bins and be aware while you’re at the recycling center, you are in a traffic situation, just like on any road or highway. As always volunteers are very welcome. Again, thank you to all the volunteers and staff at the recycling center for keeping it the best there is.

Carolyn Norback

 

WRAP Report For December 13, 2013

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

W.R.A.P.

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.”

WRAP Report For October 25

W.R.A.P. Report by Carolyn Norback

Reading Charles Blount’s Wrap article in the September issue of the Clarion started my walk down memory lane. Way back around 20+ years ago, a small group of inspired Walpole, Drewsville and North Walpole people had the idea Walpole was a progressive enough town to support a recycling center. I believe the founding members of The WRAP Committee were Fritze Till, Peg & John Stevens, George Watkins, Roger Weil, Bill Beer, and Bud Bridges (and if I left anyone out, blame it on my sometimes rather faulty recollection). This band of recyclers worked long and hard to gain support of the town and select board, and finally bring into existence our current Recycling Center. First they had to engage a buyer for our recycled product, second to find a facility to actually be a recycling center, and third (I’m sure there are more steps) a physical place to sort, recycle and store products until pickup. Whew!, a tall order any way you look at it.

The first center was located on Route 123 just next to the old landfill. Rick Cooper was the first center manager, and the only paid worker, everyone else was an unpaid volunteer. There was one trailer/boxcar where recyclables were processed and stored. Glass, newspapers and cardboard were the early acceptable (or sellable) items. In the beginning, there were three 50 gallon drums for green, brown and clear glass. I believe newspapers were separated by glossy and newsprint and cardboard was broken down with box cutters donated by Russ LaCroix, owner of the local IGA. However, it wasn’t long before Peg Stevens organized and womaned another trailer/boxcar to support the REUSE portion of the center. So, off to a good start, all that was needed was a rotating schedule of willing volunteers. That job (volunteer scheduling) I believe was headed up by Peg Stevens. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm had to be covered. Twenty-four hours of coverage takes a lot of volunteers, and somehow it happened. Initially, we signed up for 4 hour shifts. Now, of course, because the center is so competently organized, 2 hour shifts are the norm. My favorite shift was Saturday, 8:00 – 12:00 pm. Then lunch at Murray’s as a reward.

Crushing glass: first we sorted brown, green and clear. The glass crusher was a long pipe with a foot at the end which we used to crush the glass by hand, and remove that green plastic from wine bottle necks (time consuming). Fortunately, we were supplied with safety goggles. When a used glass crusher was purchased, it was a day of celebration. Bottles with return deposits were sorted and returned. Newspapers had to be sorted to remove the glossy ads, (I think we also accepted household paper at this time) separated, of course, and put into paper bags. As time went on, recycling became a large part of Walpole life, the center expanded exponentially, and finally outgrew the space allotted and moved to the wonderfully organized facility we know today.

As that old saying goes, “everything old is new again”, it is still a good deed to remove caps from bottles, be aware that only #1 PETE and #2 HDPE are acceptable to recycle, newsprint still has to be separated, and soda and beer cans should be empty and rinsed, especially in the summer months.

As much as we depend on the staff and volunteers to make up the bulk of work in the recycling center, we all need to do our part to make sure this is an enduring part of Walpole life. If volunteering at the center is not possible, then be aware and follow recycling rules. As Charles Blount so elegantly put it, we all need to “volunteer for the love of Walpole people, our town and Planet Earth”.