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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 12, 2009

Green recycling will bring greenbacks to village

By Philippa Stasiuk

VOORHEESVILLE The village’s old phone books will soon be insulating attics in the northeast.

Beginning next month, Green Fiber, an insulation company that uses recycled materials with corporate offices in Charlotte, N.C., will place a large metal green collection bin behind the firehouse on Main Street. It is the second one in the village, the first being at the First United Methodist Church on Maple Avenue.

Villagers can drop off paper products to recycle, including newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and phonebooks. Unlike the regular recycling, the items don’t have to be separated or tied in bundles.

The company will then periodically pick up the materials and take them to its plant in Hagaman, just north of Amsterdam, where they are treated with fire-retardant chemicals, ground up into a pulp, and then packaged.

The cellulose, as the end product is called, is sold in large rectangular bundles in stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, where contractors and do-it-yourselfers use a machine to blow the material into walls, floors, and ceilings as insulation.  

“We’re the only national distributor that uses alternative fiber,” said George Johnson, spokesperson. “As more people find out about cellulose insulation, they prefer a green product that doesn’t itch. With fiberglass, you’re scratching for days.”

Green Fiber will also pay the village for the material that it picks up. Johnson said that the bin at the Methodist Church has only been active for a little over two months but is already generating about a ton of material per pickup. Johnson said that would earn the church between $50 and $75 per month.

Linda Pasquali, village clerk, said that, while the money the village earns may be small, it would be applied towards the village’s other recycling endeavors. “So far this year, we’ve spent over $1,400 just in hazardous waste and electronic recycling,” said Pasquali. “This will help cover the cost of recycling but it’s not for the money that we’re doing it; it’s more for the services.”

While the range of material that Green Fiber accepts is large, Johnson said that there are a few things that cannot be put into the bin.  First, anything that has been contaminated by foodstuff, such as dog and cat food bags, pizza boxes, and milk and juice cartons.

“For us, we need clean material because it’s going into people’s homes. We add chemicals to make it fire retardant but foodstuffs take away the fire-retardant properties.”

Johnson said the other thing that people need to be aware of is that the green containers are not garbage bins and that people carrying dog poop after their canine’s evening constitutional need to make sure that the bin in which they’re placing the poop is the garbage bin.

Pasquali said the village became interested in getting a bin from Green Fiber after seeing the success that the Methodist Church was having with its bin. “The good thing about Green Fiber,” said Pasquali, “is that they take a lot more items than our current recycler, such as paper board, cereal boxes, phone books, and text books. That’s a benefit.”

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