Good Life

Recycling Column: County Recycling and Refuse Authority recognizes 2014 Emerald Award winners

Sixty Centre County businesses, schools and organizations were honored for their community stewardship and sustainable practices at a Green Business Partnership Luncheon in November. The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, the Centre Region Council of Governments and the borough of State College coordinated the recognition program and created the Emerald Award for the business, school and organization that clearly went beyond the recycling call of duty.

The winners are:

Restek Corp. Inc.: Restek started removing trash cans from its employees’ offices long before it was the green thing to do. The company has been ahead of the curve since the company opened. Restek has a “green team” that is always looking for ways to improve an already successful recycling program. Staff at Restek recycle mixed plastic, mixed paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, mixed metal, electronics, toner cartridges, batteries and light bulbs. The company has an on-site composting program, where staffers recycle coffee grounds and small food waste. They also installed the most energy efficient lighting possible and use motion sensors. They also participate in the TerraCycle Eliminating the Idea of Waste program for hard-to-recycle items.

Park Forest Elementary School: PFE is an amazing steward of the environment. The school composts lunch and paper towel waste; recycles plastic bottles, glass, paper, cans and miscellaneous plastics; and has an extensive TerraCycle program. In 2013, PFE recycled a total of 5.92 tons of material. The school has reduced its trash pickups from 5 times a week to twice a week, which has cut its waste disposal bill in half.

PFE displays “Are You Sure?” posters and banners throughout the school to remind students and staff about making good choices. PFE was able to buy a water-filling station with the funds collected through the TerraCycle program.

Foxdale Village Retirement Community: Foxdale Village has a long history of environmental awareness. Going beyond basic recycling, residents and staff expanded Foxdale’s in-house program to include batteries, egg cartons, used clothing, eye glasses, medical equipment, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and electronic equipment. Residents and staff participate in State College borough’s organics collection program. Foxdale uses no Styrofoam in their operations.

The facility’s resident workshop created several attractive recycling centers on campus. The community TV broadcast carries daily “green tips” to help folks keep the environment in mind.

The Foxdale marketing department distributes pens made from recycled plastic and pencils made from newspapers. One of their maintenance utility vehicles has been retrofitted with a solar panel to recharge the battery, saving electricity.

Foxdale sponsors spring and Fall garage sales, which provide a way for the community to reuse and recycle.

The 2104 Emerald Award winners as well as a list of all 60 Centre County Green Business Partners can be found online at