Pleasant Township had built a better mousetrap, and it's helping to preserve a better future.
The township has been awarded third place in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Local Technical Assistance Program's (LTAP) 2012 "Build a Better Mousetrap" competition.
"The competition's purpose is to collect and disseminate real world examples of best practices, tips from the field, and assist in the transfer of technology," according to the national LTAP website. "The competition is a fantastic way for innovative ideas to be exchanged with others that may benefit from different concepts and perspectives."
A Better Way
Pleasant Township was recently awarded third place in the Pennsylvania LTAP “Build a Better Mousetrap” competition for its screen shaken reclaimer system. The system allows the township to recycle junk debris into usable soil and gravel.
"I just saw it in one of the bulletins that comes through that they do these contests," Chris Roofner, road foreman for Pleasant Township, said. "We had a lot of debris in our yard and thought, 'If we can use it and not have to buy gravel every time we fill a pothole' it'd be a benefit."
The township's entry is a shaker and screen mechanism which allows the separation of gravel, fill dirt and soil. By utilizing different size screens, the township can sort debris into re-usable material such as top soil or gravel. They have dubbed the machine the EZ Shaker 2012.
"We took an old salt spreader and turned it into a reclaimer," Roofner said. "It shakes it down and turns junk material into recycled material for the township."
According to Roofner, he donated much of the material and, with the help of Ted Rose and Bill Bowman, put the machine together during shop downtime.
"What I didn't donate was mostly stuff from our scrap pile," Roofner said. "We didn't have much snow last year, so we used our shop time on this."
Roofner hopes the idea will show people it is possible to re-use materials and save costs while reducing gravel, soil and shipping costs.
"It was just a project we wanted to do because we wanted to say that recycling does work," Roofner said. "We're using it to recycle for our roadways."