Living Columns & Blogs

Centre County Emerald Award winners lead the way in recycling

Fifty-five Centre County businesses, schools and organizations were honored for their community stewardship and sustainable practices at a Green Business Partnership Luncheon in April. The Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, the Centre Region Council of Governments and the Borough of State College coordinated the recognition program and created an Emerald Award for those who clearly go beyond the recycling call of duty. I am taking this opportunity to describe the achievements of our 2016 Emerald Award winners.

The Coca-Cola Company

The recycling program at The Coca-Cola Company Milesburg plant has been in place for more than 15 years and relies heavily on the cooperation of its hourly staff workers to segregate, collect and package the recyclable materials for transportation to vendors. The Milesburg plant recycles 100 percent of eligible materials. Many of the recyclables come from the packaging materials that the plant’s raw materials are shipped in. The Milesburg plant sends any remaining trash to a trash-to-energy facility for electricity generation, allowing it to be 100 percent landfill free.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County ReStore

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County ReStore is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more at a fraction of retail prices. ReStore diverts an average of 18,500 pounds of usable goods from landfills each month and manages a regular metal recycling program, averaging 30,000 pounds per year. ReStore recycles unusable ceramic and porcelain sinks and toilets, and recycles or reuses cardboard, paper and plastic grocery bags.

Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering

Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering is a longtime recycling participant. Two years ago it joined the local composting initiative and has contributed approximately 1,000 pounds of organic waste every month for compost. Harrison’s has made great strides in its use of compostable and recyclable containers in both its restaurant and catering businesses. They have switched to completely compostable to-go boxes, topped with the Harrison’s logo in nontoxic ink.

KB Offset Printing Inc.

KB Offset Printing has always been a recycler of major consumables used in the manufacturing process. The company recycles all waste paper, trimming and unusable products from manufacturing (the annual weight of this recycling effort is more than 300,000 pounds), waste ink, used aluminum press plates and depleted chemicals and solvents. In addition, they recycle all plastic bottles, aluminum cans, miscellaneous plastic containers, office paper, paper wrap, cardboard, plastic strapping, metal banding, ink cans, shrink wrap material and electronics. These efforts have saved KB Offset Printing $300 per month in refuse costs.

Weis Markets

Weis Markets operates five stores in Centre County and is a strong supporter of local communities. Weis’ corporate mission publicly states its commitment to being good stewards of the environment. In 2015, the Centre County stores recycled 17,247,611 pounds of cardboard, 57,666 pounds of plastic bags, 11,208 pounds of plastic buckets, 1,342,869 pounds of paper, 36,880 pounds of wax cardboard and 200,000 pounds of food waste was composted. Weis reduced its company carbon footprint 22.1 percent from its 2008 baseline, surpassing its goal of 20 percent by 2020.

The 2106 Emerald Award winners as well as a list of all 55 Centre County Green Business Partners can be found on the CCRRA home page at www.centrecountyrecycles .org.

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority.