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4 Tons of Cardboard - 1 Ton of Plastic

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


While The Center at Donaldson is unique for many reasons, one of the most important is our full-time recycling coordinator, Joyce Roberts.  Outside of hospitals and traditional “green” industries, this is rare.

“We save everything,” Joyce said.  “From foam box inserts to packing peanuts to cans and cardboard; the amount of different things we recycle here, people just wouldn’t believe.”  Joyce began her career at The Center almost six years ago as a part-time recycling coordinator.  Her path has meandered over the years, including 20 hours each in the business office and in recycling, to her current gig in 2014.  

It’s staggering the amount and variety of items recycled here. Most of them are handled at least three times by Joyce, including loading, processing and re-loading.  Since September 2015, she’s bailed about four tons of cardboard and one ton of plastic.   The plastic is separated into numbers.  Numbers one and two are recycled while numbers four through seven will be made into oil, since plastic originates from petroleum.  Currently not big money makers, Joyce says that if the market comes back, recycling at TCAD could become profitable.  “That’s not what’s important here,” she adds.  “What we do that’s important is recycle, reuse and keep it out of the landfill.”

In the Central Receiving Services building, Joyce works to break down old heating registers removed from Catherine Kasper Home into recyclable parts.  The components, like aluminum, copper tubing, wiring, and the metal itself are then recycled, diverting them from the landfill.  Joyce adds she can and will recycle anything here except televisions and computers, and she welcomes co-workers to bring in anything they might formerly have trashed for recycling.   

Joyce’s favorite part of the job is working with Sister Linda Volk.  “She gets things done,” Joyce said of Sister Linda as the pair caught up on separating plastics in the first floor recycling room on a rainy Monday afternoon.  “She’s a hard worker, and I enjoy keeping busy,” Joyce added.  Sister Linda likes working with Joyce as well; describing her as consistent, methodical in her work habits, and a creative problems solver, qualities Sister Linda sees as essential for the job.  “I feel we’re partners,” Sister Linda said.  “She’s a darn good worker and we have a lot of fun,” Sister Linda added.