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Posted on: November 25, 2017

Bethlehem’s ‘America Recycles Day’ a Big Success thanks to Community Collaboration

America Recycles Day - November 18, 2017

Delmar, NY – The Town of Bethlehem’s fourth annual “America Recycles Day” collection event saw 506 capital region households participating, and saved an estimated total of 27,440 lbs (nearly 14 tons) of clothing/textiles, books, paper and cardboard from the landfill. The collected weight of materials averages out to roughly 2 ¾ lbs for every household in the entire town. About $500 in donations were also raised to support Bethlehem Central School District Environmental Programs and the Bethlehem Food Pantry.

The annual collection event celebrates “America Recycles Day” (officially Nov. 15th), and is a collaboration between the Town of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Central School District Green Team, the Delmar Farmer's Market, Grassroot Givers, The American Clothing Recycling Company, Cascade Recovery, and 3N Document Destruction.

“I’d like to thank all the residents who participated, our student and community volunteers who braved the cold and wind on Saturday to work outside, and the representatives from each of the event partners who helped make the event happen. This allowed us to once again save an amazing amount of valuable materials from the landfill with very minimal Town costs,” said Town of Bethlehem Recycling Coordinator Dan Lilkas-Rain.

Proceeds from the clothing/textile collection portion will help fund the Bethlehem Central School District’s Green Team initiatives. The Green Team was just honored with a New York State Environmental Excellence Award on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 for its leadership in protecting the environment, promoting energy efficiency and educating students about environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Only seven organizations statewide received awards, which are presented annually by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The BC Green Team’s annual partnership with the Town of Bethlehem and community groups for the spring and fall recycling events played a part in the prestigious Environmental Excellence Award. In evaluating the district’s application, DEC officials noted that the BC Green Team provides “an impressive and wide-reaching educational model that has resulted in annual accomplishments that include recycling more than 96,000 pounds of paper, composting more than 20,000 pounds of food waste, donating more than 1,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce to the Bethlehem Food Pantry, and partnering with a local restaurant to offer a special menu featuring produce grown in the school’s gardens.

Individual categories of materials collected at Saturday’s event include clothing, textiles and footwear: 9,020 lbs collected for reuse and recycling (wearable clothing will be re-worn; non-wearable clothing/non-reusable textiles will be cut into wiping rags or shredded into fiber for use as auto sound insulation, carpet padding, stuffing, etc.).

Residents can continue to donate clothing, footwear and other textiles for reuse or recycling throughout the year (the “other” list includes linens, stuffed animals, loose fabric, purses, belts, backpacks, and even ripped, stained or damaged items—as long as they are not wet or contaminated).  Event vendor American Clothing Recycling Company manages a number of blue collection bins throughout Town, including the bins at the Elm Ave CDTA Park and Ride, the Kenwood Avenue Municipal Parking Lot near Four Corners (between Hughes Opticians and Applebee Funeral Home), and the Town’s Rupert Rd Transfer Station—proceeds from these locations benefit the Town. There are also blue bins at the Middle School lot and a number of churches in Bethlehem, and proceeds benefit those organizations. Visit townofbethlehem.org/recycling or nytextiles.org for additional clothing/textile bin, shed, and thrift store locations maintained by other non-profit and private sector collectors.

Books and Cardboard: Local charity Grassroot Givers and event volunteers sorted out and collected thousands of books with reuse value, filling multiple vehicles with boxes of high quality titles! Those books weighed an estimated 3,200 lbs; an additional 6,120 lbs of books and cardboard boxes were collected and recycled by Cascade Recovery. Residents are instructed that they can continue to recycle books, mixed paper and flattened cardboard throughout the year at the Cascade Recovery dumpsters at the Elm Ave CDTA Park and Ride, as well as the at the back of the Town Municipal Parking lot on Kenwood Avenue mentioned above.

Shredded documents for recycling: 9,100 lbs of secure document shredding—a new record for this annual shredding event—was done on-site by 3N Document Destruction of Clifton Park. This material is baled and sent to a paper mill for recycling back into paper products, according to 3N co-owner Dave Neville.  

The textile collection portion of the event is part of “Re-Clothe NY,” a statewide campaign to promote clothing and textile recycling. Visit www.nytextiles.org for details.

For more information about Town of Bethlehem recycling visit townofbethlehem.org/recyling or contact Dan Rain, Recycling Coordinator: email recycle@townofbethlehem.org or call 518-439-4955 ext. 1510.  For BCSD Green Team details visit bethlehemschools.org/green-team/.

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