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Used phone books pit to 'dairy' good use in Franklin Co.

July 20, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Thousands of used telephone books collected over the next few weeks will provide bedding for dairy cows and fertilizer for fields while at the same time saving landfill space, according to the Franklin County Planning Office.

In 2003, about 20,000 pounds of old telephone books were collected by the county and delivered to the St. Thomas, Pa., dairy farm of Lowell Peckman where it was used as animal bedding, according to Community Planner Dan Wolfe.

Containers for used phone books have been placed at the movie theater entrance of Chambersburg Mall; AC&T Fast Gas on North Antrim Way in Greencastle, Pa.; the Shippensburg, Pa., Food Lion; the Borough Hall in Mercersburg, Pa.; the Waynesboro (Pa.) Mall; the lobby of Fannett-Metal Elementary School, Willow Hill, Pa.; the Washington Township, Pa., Recycling Center; and the Pleasant Hall, Pa., Volunteer Fire Co.

Books can also be dropped off at the county's senior activities centers in Chambersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro, Mont Alto, Mercersburg, Fort Loudon, Upper Strasburg and Dry Run.

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The phone book collection runs through Aug. 15, Wolfe said.

The recycling drive has been held every summer since 1993, according to Senior Planner Sherri Clayton. During that time, 180,000 books weighing 179 tons have been collected, Clayton said.

Stacked one atop the other, the pile of used phone books would reach six miles high, Clayton said.

In the first few years of the program, the books were recycled into tissue paper products, Clayton said. Each ton of paper recycled for that purpose saved 17 trees, along with the oil and water needed to reprocess the material, she said.

Recycling the books has also saved 1,432 cubic feet of landfill space, according to county figures.

Once the ground phone books are used for animal bedding, they are then applied to farm fields, much as used straw would be, for fertilizer, Clayton said.

Sprint distributes approximately 90,000 phonebooks in Franklin County each year, said Yvonne Butts-Mitchell, a Sprint spokeswoman.

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