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Growing Arc recycling center serves vocational program and the public

September 12, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Tony Davis sorts paper to be shredded at The Arc of Washington Countys recycling center at 1000 Florida Ave. in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — As local recyclers search for alternatives to the bins removed this summer from Hagerstown, Funkstown and Smithsburg, The Arc of Washington County is spreading the word about its growing recycling center at 1000 Florida Ave. in Hagerstown.

The Arc’s recycling center has drop-off bins for recyclables and, for a fee, offers curbside pickup for homes and businesses, said Jim Hurley, manager of the recycling center.

“I think a lot of people in Hagerstown don’t know that we’re here,” he said.

The recycling center is part of The Arc’s vocational day program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants in that program collect the recyclables, sort them, feed them into balers and load them onto trucks to be sold to businesses, Hurley said.

Nona Trenary, assistant director of vocational services at The Arc, described the program as a “win-win.”

“It’s a good service for us to get our individuals ... to mainstream out and do something that is beneficial to everybody, and eliminating (waste) out of the landfill is No. 1,” Trenary said.

Tony Davis, 40, of Hagerstown, one of the workers feeding cardboard into a baling machine on a recent morning, said he works at the recycling center four days a week. He also has a job mowing grass.

Asked what he liked about the recycling center, Davis said, “The work. The money.”

The reaction is typical of the pride Arc vocational program participants take in going to work and earning a paycheck, recycling center mentor William Cogswell said.

“It makes them feel like part of the world,” Cogswell said.

Pay rates for the workers are set based on their work speed, Hurley said.

The Arc’s recycling program has been in operation since 1989, Trenary said. Last year, it processed more than 285 tons of cardboard, newspaper, office paper and plastic.

In March, the recycling center moved into a spacious new location at 1000 Florida Ave., Trenary said. Before, much of the work had to be done outdoors, she said.

With the new, larger space, the recycling center is seeking to expand its volume, and is especially interested in picking up materials from retirement communities and other multifamily homes, Trenary said.

Monthly curbside pickup is available to single-family homes for $5 a month, Hurley said.

The center accepts mixed office paper, newspaper and phone books, cardboard, aluminum cans, and Nos. 1 and 2 plastic.

Those wishing to make large drop-offs are encouraged to do so during business hours, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, when the materials can be brought directly into the center, Hurley said.

For more information about The Arc’s recycling center, call Hurley at 301-573-8606.

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