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The Greenest Company of The Year

May 4, 2010

Source: Green Business League

PRESS RELEASE:

The Green Business League recently named its Green Business of the Year among a large field of Green certified businesses.  The choice was a surprise to many because the choice was an auto recycling (salvage) company located in Park City, Illinois.  The choice of Auto Parts City was a serious decision because this company followed a basic concept promoted by the Green business League.  “Progress toward Excellence” means that there is no perfect business, but all businesses can improve their practices.  Many might choose an environmental-type business, but the effort taken to start with a problem business and take it Green is even more noteworthy.

Auto Parts City is an glowing example of environmental progress and excellence in the pursuit of a better and Greener operation.  Junk cars are likely no one’s idea of a Green program, but that can be a short-sighted attitude.  Drawing upon European advancements in salvage and recycling concepts, Auto Parts City handles all vehicles in a professional and environmentally-sound manner.

Some cars can be repaired and resold, which should be considered a form of recycling in itself.  Those cars that cannot be sold, are carefully recycled for parts to the maximum level possible.   This planned organization of this salvage process encourages customers to find parts and reduces the eventual wastes produced by old cars.  The alternative to junk car recycling is the growth of rusted cars in junk yards, fluids drained into the surrounding land, and mountains of tires that could one day catch fire.  Cars are a major environmental issue long after they pass their years of good performance. Prior to going to parts, every car is drained of fluids by a state of the art process.

Auto Parts City recovers more than 50,000 in gasoline each year.  They also recover more than 20,000 gallons of engine oil that is filtered and subsequently used to fire a CleanBurn™ furnace to heat the facility.  Transmission fluid and antifreeze are recovered, filtered, and rebottled for resale.  Tires and batteries are either sold as used parts or recycled in a variety of ways.   When a car has been recycled as much as possible; it is removed, crushed, and shredded on site.  The shredded ingredients are separated and used in the manufacture of other types of new products.  This seems to be the best way to resolved the millions of junk cars pulled off the road every year.

Even the outside furniture is a combination of old tires and plastic in a new form, and recycle bins are used throughout the facility.  Recovered gasoline is burned in the company fleet that can tolerate less than perfect octane.  Even the courtesy cars are electric, making this complex one of the most environmentally-friendly places in Park City.

This list of accomplishments are only a few of the highly-effective efforts of Auto Parts City.  These improvements makes this company an outstanding example of environmental achievement and the best example of a Green business reviewed by the Green Business League.  Therefore, on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2010, the Green Business League awarded Auto Parts City the Green Business of the Year.  This was a proud moment for Jay and Larry Brosten.  These brothers only regretted that their father, Hy Brosten (The “Original” Recycler) had passed away a few weeks prior to this Green award.

The Green Business League is very please to award the Platinum level for the Green Business Certification of Auto Parts City, and to name this business as the GBL Green Business of the year.

GBL6318

Tweet me: Check out the Greenest Company of the Year http://bit.ly/b6kKrd

CONTACT INFO:

MJ Richmond
Green Business League
mjatgbl@yahoo.com
(815) 609-4546
http://www.greenbusinessleague.com

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Original post on the CSR Feed: 3BLMedia

NEWS SOURCE

State Eyes Junk Vehicles

April 14, 2010
DAVE GRAM

MONTPELIER — The state is cracking down on unregulated junkyards but has a lot of work to do, with environmental advocatessaying Tuesday that up to three-quarters of the salvage operations are doing business without the required licenses or effective regulation.

It’s a worry because some junkyards allow toxic materials from junk cars — including tires, motor oil, gasoline and brake and transmission fluids — to get into the environment and often into nearby streams, said Jessica Edgerly, state director with the environmental group Toxics Action Center.

Edgerly was joined by two legal junkyard operators and the state commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Justin Johnson, at a news conference Tuesday to describe the problem and steps being taken to address it.

Hundreds in state

An initial state review after a law regulating junkyards was passed last year showed there were 76 salvage yards operating with the proper state licenses and local permits. The state estimated 140 were operating without licenses.

Further study by Edgerly’s group put the number operating illegally at about 215, she said.

Edgerly agreed with Armand Rathe and Jamie Bolduc, who run legal salvage yards in Colchester and Middlesex, respectively, that unlicensed and unregulated junkyards are creating unfair competition in their industry.

“It is unfair that 76 legal yards that have made the effort to follow the law and protect the environment are competing with so many illegal operations,” Edgerly said.

Johnson said the competitive issue is an important one. He called salvage yards, which dismantle old cars and sell parts and scrap metal, “a pretty cutthroat industry.”

Johnson said his agency has been working to draft rules to enforce the new junkyard law. Among them: Junk vehicles must be crushed on an impervious surface to prevent leaking of liquids into the ground, and liquid wastes must be properly stored and managed.

Edgerly and Johnson urged passage of legislation calling for the regulation of salvage yards and fees to be imposed on violators.

A bill on the subject has passed the Vermont Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

Complaints about junkyards appear to have been rising recently as operations established decades ago along rural roads come to find themselves surrounded by newer neighborhoods.

In Milton, complaints by neighbors about ABC Metals and Recycling have led to two court actions: Owner Gil Rhoades is appealing to the state Supreme Court a Superior Court decision upholding the town’s denial of a renewed permit for his operation. Meanwhile, the state is suing the company, Rhoades and his wife over allegations of environmental violations.

Rhoades’ lawyer, Thomas G. Walsh, of Burlington, said Rhoades believes he has been singled out and treated unfairly by the state after a campaign by his neighbors to shut him down.

Another business labeled an illegal salvage yard by the state sits just about a mile from the Statehouse in Montpelier.

Dozens of cars sit in rows surrounded by weeds at I B’s Auto Repair, easily exceeding what John Brabant, director of the state’s salvage yard program, said is a threshold of four abandoned vehicles on a property that defines it as a junkyard.

Owner Paul Ibey leases the land where he operates from the state, which has terminated his lease as part of an effort to upgrade a railroad track behind his shop.

“I don’t consider myself a junkyard,” Ibey said in an interview, contending he uses the abandoned cars as sources of parts for still-running cars he’s repairing. “I take two or three and make ‘em one.”

Since the Agency of Transportation is shutting him down for the railroad project, the environmental agency shouldn’t have to worry about him, Ibey said.

“They can call themselves,” he said. “They can get on a computer and talk to each other.”

NEWS SOURCE

Keeping Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful for 30 years

March 19, 2010

Nonprofit celebrates three decades of creating a greener community

Reporter: By Camie Young, Senior Writer
Email Address: camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com

LAWRENCEVILLE — In 1980, urban blight was not a part of Gwinnett leaders’ vocabulary.

The biggest eyesores in the then-small county were junk cars, often used to describe where to turn to reach the house of a friend.

But even then, commissioners wanted to be good stewards of the growing suburban landscape.

They created Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful 30 years ago this week, an organization that became a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful two months later.

“It was a visionary thought then,” said Bartow Morgan, a banker who serves as the current chairman of the 50-member board of directors. “Back then … who was thinking of tagging graffiti in Norcross?”

According to Director Connie Wiggins, “Some folks have said we were green before green was cool.”

The group, which has tracked litter in the community for three decades and worked to foster recycling programs, has found a renewed mission as the county’s older communities started on a downward spiral. Several years ago, the group was tasked with helping eradicate graffiti by working with prison inmates to paint over gang tags, a program that led to a 2005 graffiti prevention award from Keep America Beautiful.

Now, with foreclosed homes in even the richest communities and illegal trash dumping becoming a serious issue, the group has even more passion in keeping the community clean.

The leaders know that a beautiful landscape can help attract business and make the community more safe, Morgan said.

Despite a rough year in 2009, where a lawsuit over a garbage plan and subsequent distancing from Gwinnett County government led to a reduction in the nonprofit’s staff by 75 percent, board members are creating plans to beef up Adopt A Road programs to compensate for the government’s inability to pay to keep medians and rights of way mowed and litter picked up.

They are turning toward the lifeblood of the organization: the volunteers who have cleaned streams and roads and recycled Christmas trees, stenciled storm drains and so much more.

If all 2,500 homeowner associations in Gwinnett adopt a half-mile before their subdivisions’ entrance and a half-mile after, the impact would be huge, said board member Pam Ledbetter.

“That’s the entrance into their community,” she said. “It seems like a no-brainer to me.”

Despite all the programs and efforts, Wiggins and Ledbetter said the real difference will be made when people simply decide to take action themselves.

Ledbetter shared a story about a member of her Collins Hill area homeowner association who decided to try a little experiment.

He “planted” a pizza box just outside the subdivision’s entrance and waited. For weeks, people walked by with their dogs, cars pulled in and out and no one stopped to pick up the piece of trash.

“It’s more about people taking action and trying to solve the problems with the neighbors,” Wiggins said, explaining that people often turn to government — which is now overburdened — for a solution. “We know a better environment starts in our backyard.”

One way the organization has changed attitudes about the environment is through a decades-long curriculum taught in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

A full-time environmental educator is employed by the nonprofit, with her salary coming from revenues generated by the sale of recycled materials at the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett.

“It’s amazing, the things they do. It’s a life attitude for (the students),” said board member Mary Root. “The students are the ones that taught the parents.”

It was that instinct in children to teach their parents about recycling that led to a huge growth in that area in the 1990s. Recently, though, the statistics on household recycling in Gwinnett have gone down dramatically.

Wiggins said a lot of that can be attributed to confusion and the fact that recycling isn’t always an easy feat. A new county trash plan, in which junk car recycling is mandatory, could help with that once it begins in July.

“It’s all about a philosophy, a culture you are building,” said David Seago, another board member. “This isn’t your typical garden club. This is a group that takes action and makes a difference.”

NEWS SOURCE

Egypt Could Easily Be The Recycling Capital Of The World

March 15, 2010

If you have ever been or lived in Egypt I don’t have to go in to great detail of how much garbage is spewing all over the place! (no joke)  For those of you who don’t live here, there is a lot of garbage…EVERYWHERE! You can find the dumpsters out side of apartment building over flowing, the Nile and canals have all sorts of trash floating on its surface and embedded on the walls, the pavements and streets are littered with trash! It’s so bad that sometimes you can find plastic bags or crisp packets stuck in between branches of a tree.There  are buildings that have been knocked down and in the midst of the rubble are metal beams lying around and getting rusty,  you can often find old broken down cars that have collected years of dust and whose tires have rotted. It’s not a very pleasant sight as you can imagine! It’s very disheartening to see or to have to admit, when what I would LOVE to be able to do is brag about the beauty of the country! (there are some very beautiful places in Egypt, but they are not inhabited and they remain the way they have always been since time began)

Why can’t we do something with all this waste? Surely we could recycle 75 % of it! If there was a refund for soda cans like they do in Montreal. I think the entire country would participate in that. Why, well because Egyptians consume mass quantities of soda pop and if it meant that they could get some money back for their cans instead of throwing them out of their car windows it would be a step in the right direction. The waste from the food could be used to turn in to compost and used for the agricultural land. The glass bottle could be taken and reused or melted down and made into something else. If someone decided to go into junk car recycling …they could be a multi millionaire in no time!

PAPER!!! Oh my goodness….!!! There is so much  wasted paper that it’s incredible. Egypt isn’t as high-tech or digitalized as first world countries are, where everything is done electronically, it’s all done on paper here!! Imagine the products that could be produced from recycled paper!

If Egypt went Green and it was promoted nationally, I think a movement could start and within the span of 1 year to 3 years a noticable difference would be seen. Then every time a foreign leader comes to visit our Nations capital the special cleaning crew won’t have to go around the city sweeping up months worth of trash and repainting side walks to give the illusion that the city is well-maintained. Get this… it would actually look like that ALL the time!

NEWS SOURCE

Having a smashing time at Scrap Club

March 11, 2010

It’s the new Saturday night out as clubbers batter away at old electrical items

It’s Saturday night and in a warehouse, a load of old computers, CD stands, fridges and plastic toy cars sit in a pile. Behind a metal fence about 60 men and women from their mid-20s to early-40s wait, apprehensive and excited, to smash them to pieces. This is Scrap Club, a burgeoning underground event set up by artists Joel Cahen and Wajid Yaseen.

The inspiration came after they took part in a reenactment of a 1984 gig by the band Einstürzende Neubauten, who destroyed the stage with electric drills. “We said, why should artists have all the fun, why not get the audience to participate?” explains Yaseen.

The public pay £10 and sign a safety disclaimer. They then get 10 minutes each to smash scrap objects until they lie in pieces. It sounds like an unusual way to spend an evening, and yet last Saturday’s event, the first in east London, sold out almost immediately. To source their junk, the artistic duo scour the streets in a van; universities donate a lot too. After each Scrap Club, the organisers sift the junk, taking the metals for junk car recycling.

Goggles, construction hats and gloves are provided, with St John’s Ambulance staff on standby. Participant Dan Jarvis says, “It reminds me of my childhood again. Also everyone who works with computers has moments when they want to smash a keyboard.”

Then it’s my turn to have a go. I batter away at a partly broken TV until there’s not much left. Then I let loose on a computer, until only a small part of the disk drive remains intact. It’s like having a shouting match with someone: you feel drained but really good afterwards.

I have two close shaves, ducking to miss someone swinging their hammer. And my arm hurts, but those behind the fence shout words of encouragement to keep us going. It’s definitely the most fun destructivist public art event I’ve been to.

NEWS SOURCE

Ten Reasons for Recycling

March 11, 2010

According to estimates, every American produces an average of 7.5 pounds of trash on a daily basis.  This number may seem little but when you add it up, said waste will amount to one ton of trash a year!  Now, multiply that with the US population and you will quickly realize why we need to recycle our wastes lest we find ourselves on sinking boat of trash.  With that being said, here are ten more reason to recycle now.

1- It Makes For Good Economy

Junk Car Recycling makes good economic sense in many ways.  Many states profit from recycling revenues, often running in the billions of dollars, which can then be poured into making the economy stronger.  It does not hurt either that our country exports its recycled products to other nations.  Also, many companies rely on recycled materials to produce new products.

2- It Creates Jobs

The recycling industry is on a roll.  As such, it requires manpower that means more jobs even in these recessionary times.  In fact, the industry earns more than $236 billions annually, employs more than 1 million workers and continues to do so.

3- It Reduces Waste

This is a no-brainer as recycling is intended to lessen the wastes in our landfills.  And you should know by now of the negative impact of landfills on the environment in the form of toxic leaks into the soil, which breeds a host of other societal problems.

4- It Is Eco-Friendly

Another no-brainer as recycling does utilize fewer natural resources and require lesser energy, not to mention lessening the burden on the landfills and other trash areas of the nation.

5- It Saves Energy

Instead of using virgin materials that require greater energy expenditures to transform into their final forms, recycling old materials utilize only about half of the energy.  Take the case of recycling aluminum, which saves on 90 percent of costs necessary to make aluminum from scratch.

6- It Lessens the Burden on the Land

Take the example of a company that contacted local contractors to use their stockpiled mountains of glass to use as substitutes for sand and gravel in building roads and highways.  You can just imagine the space said stockpile will take in the landfills.

7- It Mitigates Global Warming

Each waster material that we recycle means fewer amounts of greenhouse gases being emitted into the air, thus, mitigating the effects of global warming.  We are now experiencing its effects but we can still do something about it.

8- It Reduces Water Pollution and Use

There are many ways with which this is possible.  One, transforming recycled materials into new products often requires less water.  Two, toxic leaks from landfills are lessened with fewer trash in them.  We all end up with healthier, cleaner and clearer water.

9- It Protects Wildlife

Because there is lesser need to harvest the forests of its riches – trees, that is – the habitats of many wild animals are spared.  As such, we are protecting the wildlife.

10- It Creates New Demand for Recycled Products

Thanks to the ripple effect, the process of making and buying recycled products create a new demand for them.  And the good cycle of recycling starts again and again to the benefit of society and of the environment.

Keep in mind that every little paper, tin can and other junk that you recycle benefits not just you and your immediate surroundings but the national economy and international community as well.

SOURCE

See How An Auto Clinic Can Become A Certified Green Company

March 10, 2010

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Source: Green Business League

PRESS RELEASE:

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) March 9, 2010 – Caton Auto Clinic is an example of the common factor for Green business certification.  It has been commonly thought that the ability to get a Green certification requires substantial costs to remodel the facility.  However, more than three quarters of all businesses do not own the building.  The Green Business League is the intelligent method for proving the quality of any Green business.  By accumulating enough Green Points, a business can develop a tailored approach to a Green operation.

Caton Auto Clinic used low-VOC paint for the facility, installed a variety of highly-effective recycling programs including recycling antifreeze, junk metal, and solvents.  The company improved insulation, concrete is cleaned with a bio-safe cleaner, and the company buys chlorine-free paper products.
They started as a small 6 bay repair facility in 1975 and have grown to their present size of 36 bays. The business is family owned and operated, is AAA approved, and was actually one of the original 7 in Maryland when AAA first started the program. Caton Auto Clinic Mall is comprised of 4 shops, Caton Auto Clinic, Lee Myles Transmissions, Engine Exchange, and American Car Care Center, with each specializing in one facet of automotive repair. Therefore, they can give the specialized service required by today’s automobiles all under one roof giving the customer quality and convenience.

In addition to the Original Caton Auto Clinic you will find Lee Myles Transmissions, American Car Care Center, and Engine Exchange to provide you with bumper-to-bumper car care. Family owned and operated since 1975 they stand behind their work guarantee and they are specialists with all American & most Foreign cars. The Caton Auto Clinic Mall is a member of the Better Business Bureau and is a AAA approved Auto Repair center. A visit to the waiting room will show the overwhelming positive feedback from the service evaluation cards. Another wall in this room is full of written customer testimonials.

They are one of the largest independent automotive repair facilities in the State of Maryland. They offer complete automotive service including tune-ups, general repair, heating & air conditioning, tires, State Inspections, transmissions, complete engine exchanges, electrical & computer systems, as well as suspension repairs & alignments. Caton Auto Clinic Mall does it all. Their Catonsville, Maryland location is convenient to University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), CCBC and all parts of Baltimore County and Howard County including Columbia, Ellicott City, Arbutus, Woodlawn, Elkridge, Jessup and Randallstown. Minutes from UMBC bus service.

It isn’t often that customers will find an auto repair service that has this level of environmental commitment, but Caton Auto Clinic demonstrates that there are always ways to improve the operation and participate in the larger environmental battle.  The challenge the world faces is that the environmental issue is a universal problem that requires universal participation. It should be said that this kind of commitment deserves the support of the community.  Businesses that commit money and resources to do more than a token effort deserves the patronage of the community.  Other businesses in the community should follow in the process.

Caton Auto Clinic worked with Jean Cozzolino of Green Perspectives, LLC.  Jean is a professional Certified Green Consultant who has helped a number of area businesses install Green practices which leads to an eventual Green business certification. The Green Business League commends Caton Auto Clinic for its commitment to a Green operation and its willingness to be an environmental leader to other businesses in the Baltimore, Maryland area.

GBL5370

Tweet me: Auto clinics can become Sustainably Green Certified too. http://3bl.me/ksmas7

CONTACT INFO:

MJ Richmond
Green Business League
mjatgbl@yahoo.com
(815) 609-4546
http://www.greenbusinessleague.com

Original post on the CSR Feed: 3BLMedia

NEWS SOURCE

Your Top Glass Questions

March 8, 2010

by Trey Granger

In January, we asked our Facebook followers to send us their questions about glass recycling. We combined this with some of the more common questions we get via email and sought out the opinions of municipal recycling programs, industry leaders and other experts for the most qualified answers. Enjoy!

Question #1: Do you have to separate glass by colors?

The short answer to this is that it depends on your local recycling program. If your curbside recycling hauler has instituted single-stream recycling, all glass bottles can be combined in one bin, and the material will be separated at a transfer station or material recovery facility (MRF). But in a city like Kansas City, it’s required that you separate glass by color.

In the recycling process, color is a big deal because bottles are often used to make new glass containers. Think back to grade school art class when you used to mix paints and got a brand new color, and then imagine the resulting color from mixing brown and blue glass during recycling.

For those of you that favor industry jargon, here’s some information from the Glass Packaging Institute: “Glass manufacturers are limited in the amount of mixed cullet they can use to make new bottles. Separating recycled container glass by color allows the industry to ensure that new bottles match the color standards required by glass container customers.”
Question #2: Do you have to clean out glass bottles before recycling?

This is generally a recommended practice to make things easier on the handlers. If glass has sugar remains, it becomes sticky when it dries and is more prone to attract bugs. This goes for other food and beverage containers as well.

During recycling, glass is crushed down into pieces called cullet. This process cleans the glass and removes any remaining residue (such as labels or lime wedges in your beer). This means a dirty bottle could still be recycled, but since your recycling program likely asks you to rinse out containers you should do it to the best of your ability.
Question #3: Is glass included in state deposit programs?

Container deposit laws, commonly known as bottle bills, have consumers pay a fee for each container purchased that is then refunded when a container is brought back for recycling. There are currently 11 states in the U.S. that have bottle bills, and all of them cover at least one glass container.

Now for a good news/bad news scenario. The bad news is that in all of these states, only glass beverage containers are eligible for the deposit and refund. Several also have a volume restriction, so wine bottles aren’t included. If the glass jar isn’t labeled with your state and a refund notice, you can’t bring it back to the point of purchase.

The good news for residents in these states is that bottle bills create a market for recycling, as there will be lots of supply. If your curbside program accepts glass beverage containers for recycling, it’s unlikely that your food jars and wine bottles will be turned away.
Question #4: Why doesn’t my community accept glass for recycling?

It’s important to think of recycling as a business, because that helps you understand why certain materials are in higher demand. Glass has two things going against it in the recycling game: weight and flexibility.

Glass bottles weigh more than plastic and metal, and heavier products cost more to ship. Plus, you can crush and bale a load of aluminum cans or plastic bottles, which reduces space needed in a truck that would otherwise be filled by air.

These two factors often make it more expensive to transport glass for recycling, resulting in a lower resale value. If your community can’t make a profit collecting glass, that may be why it’s not collected. In some cases, glass is not accepted curbside but you can drop it off for recycling. This is yet another reason to know your local recycling rules.

Question #5: Can broken glass be recycled?

Broken glass is recyclable, but it might not be reprocessed into new glass bottles. This is because when glass breaks, it can often be a challenge to separate it by color given the tiny pieces. This glass can be used as an additive in fiberglass, tile and flooring, pavement or even turned back into sand to stop beach depletion.

However, just because glass is crushed during recycling doesn’t mean you should do this prior to putting it in your bin. This could injure waste haulers or people sorting material at the MRF, and according to glass manufacturer O-I Global, there’s already a shortage of recycled content to make new containers.

“Sometimes there is a perception that there’s no market for recycled glass, and that’s not the case,” says Paul Smith, O-I’s global sourcing manager of cullet. “We need to create awareness of this, and consumers can do their part by finding out what is happening with recyclables.”
Question #6: Are glass containers recycled at restaurants and bars?

This will depend on the business, but commercial glass recycling is possible, and in many cities and states, it’s a way of life. In North Carolina, any bar or restaurant with an Alcohol Beverage Permit is required to recycle containers. According to GPI, this results in an additional 33,750 tons of containers recycled each year.

For some bar patrons, recycling is an initiative they take up on their own. For example, the University of Kansas’ Students for Bar Recycling is an organization that collects glass bottles from local bars to be recycled. The City of Lawrence has no free commercial pick-up service for glass, but the students work with these establishments to take it off their hands.

If you aren’t sure whether containers are recycled at your local eatery or pub, just ask a manager. They might not even be aware that it is an option, and can also reduce the amount they pay to haul away garbage.
Question #7: Can non-container glass be recycled?

Think of other forms of glass you have lying around the house. Mirrors and windows, ceramics and drinking glasses, cookware and even light bulbs. You’ll eventually want to dispose of all of these products, but they can’t be recycled with container glass.

The simple reason is that most of these other forms of glass are treated with chemicals, so they have a different melting point than bottles and jars. This is important for improving the durability of your car windshield, but makes disposal a challenge. Here’s a few options for non-container glass:

1. If the glass isn’t broken, consider reuse for your mirrors, ceramics, drinking glasses and cookware. They’ll likely be accepted at a local second-hand store.

2. While there’s no market for recycling incandescent light bulbs, if you’ve switched to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) there are plenty of recycling options because they contain mercury. Both Home Depot and IKEA have in-store CFL collections.

3. Windows are typically treated as construction and demolition waste, and many cities have separate facilities that handle this material.

NEWS SOURCE

Northwood looking at more personnel cuts

March 8, 2010

Written by Kelly Kaczala
Monday, 08 March 2010 09:25

Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner is considering another round of city layoffs due to further decreases in income tax revenues this year.

“I have proposed cutting five full-time jobs, and one person would go from full-time to part-time,” Stoner told The Press last Wednesday.

The layoffs would include two full-time police officers, tax clerk, court clerk, and cleaning lady. “And the city clerk would go from full-time to part-time,” he said.

Administrator Pat Bacon has already informed the employees of the proposed layoffs, said Stoner.

“We just don’t have the money to continue paying them,” said Stoner.

“I’ve done everything I could to not affect the residents with these cuts,” he added

City council learned at a meeting on Feb. 25 that income tax revenues dropped 16 percent in January and February of this year, compared to the same period last year.

“If the city continues to lose revenue at that rate, we could see a loss of $700,000 in revenue by the end of this year,” said Stoner. “That’s big.”

Stoner said he also is seeking salary cuts from union and non-union city employees.

Bacon, he said, is meeting with the unions and asking for widespread pay cuts.

“And that’s for everyone in the city – police, fire, and streets departments, administrator, and finance director,” said Stoner.

Even if there is an agreement on the pay cuts, it wouldn’t avert the layoffs, said Stoner.

“There’s just not going to be enough money to avert all that. It’s a shame. I don’t know how to express how bad I feel about this.”

Stoner said he has also suspended fire inspections of commercial buildings.

“I don’t know that the residents really are that concerned about that. They’re concerned about police, fire and streets. And they’re still going to have all that,” said Stoner.

“I’ve had people who own a commercial business in Northwood tell me `That’s why we have liability and fire insurance,”’ he added.

Last fall, the city cut over $600,000 in expenses, with few departments spared the budget ax. Among the cuts: 10.3 percent from the police department; 10.7 percent from fire; 14.1 percent from dispatch; 15.1 percent from the baseball program; 37.1 percent from the zoning department; 24.1 percent from the streets department, 29.1 percent from the mayor’s office, 15.1 percent from the finance department, 30.6 percent from the city administrator; and 13.8 percent from the court.

Personnel cuts included one full-time police officer, animal control officer, a court employee, and secretary, a traffic camera operator, one crossing guard, and two streets department employees. Other positions, such as dispatcher, zoning assistant, and tax compliant auditor, were not filled due to attrition.

Refuse fee
There was some discussion at a Finance Committee meeting on Feb. 22 of instituting a refuse fee as a way to increase revenue, said Stoner.

The city currently pays for garbage pickup as part of its contract with Waste Management of Ohio, which owns the Evergreen Recycling and Disposal facility, a solid waste landfill, at Wales Road and East Broadway. Northwood receives 22 cents per ton tipping fee, and 23.75 cents per ton host fee from Evergreen, which automatically deducts a monthly charge for unlimited garbage pickup for residents.

That could all end, however, with city residents picking up the tab.

“Instituting a fee to every resident for trash pickup would generate money, depending on what we charge the residents,” said Bacon.

“I’m sure it’s a shock to council,” Stoner said of the proposal. “This is uncharted territory for us, and a lot of communities, who have never had to deal with something like this.”

The public, he said, is more likely to accept a refuse fee compared to an increase in income taxes or the elimination of income tax reciprocity for residents who work outside the city.

“From talking with the residents, they see that as the lesser of two evils,” Stoner said.

Councilman Dave Gallaher said he does not support a refuse fee.

“Personally, I don’t care for the idea,” he said. “If the price of gas goes up, I can choose to drive my car less. People can put less trash out, but the fee is going to be the same. It affects retired people on fixed incomes, people who are unemployed. And there’s nothing you can do to lower the fee. If you need a new car and you can’t afford a Cadillac, you can buy something smaller. That’s a choice you can make based on your earnings. But that refuse fee is a flat rate. It doesn’t matter if the people recycle, or have one can or six cans, you can’t lower the fee. That’s what I don’t like about it.”

NEWS SOURCE

Recycling the cycles

March 8, 2010
  • 8th March 2010

It has been common for some time now for companies to try and offset their employees carbon footprint and therefore themselves by offering better ways for them to get into work.

These cycle schemes have been one of these projects, giving employees the chance to get fit while also doing their bit for the environment.

At the NHS, it has been up to the individual Trusts to decide whether or not to take up this particular scheme, and while it has had some success, the numbers of employees using this scheme hasn’t exactly broken any records.

The NHS even has an informal cycling website, which has seen its site output reduce with the last monthly article being posted in February 2009. This is a shame, as cycling represents one of the best ways in which the NHS can help its members cut carbon emissions and save money, too. The cycling schemes elsewhere have been fairly successful; it stands to reason that the NHS would equally benefit from it.

Should a huge public sector establishment such as the NHS take the lead and really push the benefits of cycling to work and create proper facilities that can accommodate such a move (Trafford PCT for example spent money made by recycling ink cartridges on better lockers) this would in turn create a much more attractive proposition for the scheme.

Bikes for the NHS is a website set up to promote the use of cycles and to act as a portal for cycling enthusiasts. To find out more about this project and what it can achieve for you, please visit www.nhsbikes.co.uk/

NEWS SOURCE