Get your green back

Tidioute Recycling gives back to the community

Times Observer photo by Lorri Drumm The Tidioute Recycling Center is located at 60 Grant Street, Tidioute, next to the borough maintenance garage. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with an open bin drop off system. The center is run by volunteers. Proceeds from the sale of recyclable material benefit groups and individuals in the community.

Tidioute borough was going green before the popular phrase was first coined. That greenness has led to an influx of greenbacks that cycle right back into the community.

The boroughs recycling program is run by volunteers from the Tidioute Lions Club. The program started in 1990 with a few guys and has grown into a community effort that produces thousands of dollars every year that stay in the local community, according to Lions Club President Carmen Fedele.

The Tidioute Recycling Center collected 217,964 pounds, or 108.98 tons, of recyclable material last year, according to Crystal Heenan, the borough office manager.

The amount collected each year allows the Lions Club to typically put about $12,000 back into the local community, according to Lions Club Member Dan Reese.

In addition to helping groups and organizations, the club takes requests from individuals. “Sometimes we hear from someone down on their luck and something happens, like their hot water tank breaks,” Reese said. “We help with those kind of situations too.”

The recycling center is located at 60 Grant Street, next to the borough maintenance garage. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with an open bin drop off system.

They accept newsprint, magazines, glass, aluminum, cardboard, steel, and Number 2 plastic, like milk jugs and water bottles.

The recycled material brought to the drop off center is bundled or crushed by volunteers and sold to recyclers.

Those volunteers are cautious to only include items appropriate for recycling, according to Fedele. “We sell cardboard to an organization in Pittsburgh,” he said. “They told us it’s the cleanest cardboard they’ve ever seen. Well, if it doesn’t belong in there, it doesn’t go in.”

While some communities struggle to combat illegal dumping at recycling drop-off sites, it’s rarely a problem in the borough, according to Fedele. “Every once in a while you get something that doesn’t belong,” he said. “But it’s never been anything major.”

Fedele credits the success of the program to the dedicated work of the volunteers and the efforts of the local community. “People here are good about bringing their recyclables here,” he said.

Local residents don’t have to look far to see the benefits of their efforts.

Each year the Lions Club awards a $750 scholarship to a senior at Tidioute Community Charter School for up to four years, thanks to funds from the recycling program, according to Reese. “It’s been great to help local students further their education,” he said.

The list of groups and organizations helped by proceeds from the recycling program throughout the years include: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, a local holiday food drive, an Easter egg hunt, flowers on Main Street, a children’s trout release, holiday lighting in the borough, a Warm Clothes for Kids drive, storm relief for Hurricane Sandy, items for troops, the Rouse Home, Warren Manor, school bus trips, Officer Phil Children’s Safety, mowing of Deerfield Cemetery, maintaining Benner Park, eye glasses, maintaining town signs, blind bowlers, the Northwest Pennsylvania Association for the Blind, Tidioute Crop Walk, picnic tables on the River Trail and Tidioute Legion baseball.