Sustainable Wellesley, a volunteer organization that is all about recycling, living without pesticides, and moving toward clean energy, has a good-looking updated website. The group, whose mission is to engage the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability, encourages big and small changes on a road toward increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste and pollution.
We were poking around on their website, trying to pick up some tips on making our “historic” home perhaps a bit more airtight, or at least finding the gumption to dig deep within ourselves to maybe turn out the lights as we left the room, and we were not disappointed. There’s is information as small-scale as consolidating car trips, to as big-picture as installing solar panels on your home’s roof.
A major interest of the group is, of course, the town’s Recyling and Disposal Facility. To that end, the group invited Gordon Martin, Superintendent of the RDF, to serve as guest editor for an article about recycling newspapers. Thanks to the efforts of Martin and the entire crew toiling away down there at the Wellesley/Needham line, and the good sorting and hauling-to-the-dump habits of Wellesley residents, the Town’s general fund was made $608,577 richer in fiscal year 2014.
One way this was achieved was through paper recycling. Once you read about how your recycling efforts really do matter to the town, you’ll never be able to toss your recyclables into the trash compactor again. Not without guilt, anyway.
Check out the Superintendent’s breakdown of how it all happens:
Did You Know……… over 2,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered that a thin, wet layer of interlocking fibers becomes paper when it dries. The first papermaking materials consisted of fibers from rags, the bark of trees, plants and grasses such as hemp, bamboo, jute and straw.
Most paper and paper products manufactured today use fibers derived from wood, primarily from conifers such as spruce, fir, pine, and hemlock and some deciduous trees such as birch, oak and aspen.
When newspaper fibers are recycled for the first time, the individual fibers are long. Every time newspaper is recycled, the fibers break down and become shorter and shorter. The problem is that short fibers, even when they are interlocked with other short fibers, make the final product weak and unstable. The answer to this problem is to introduce long fibers into the mix.
Americans have been recycling paper for only three hundred years. Foreign paper makers have been recycling paper for two thousand years. This means that America’s recycled paper fibers are in great demand and foreign buyers are willing to pay a higher price for it. The RDF sells a significant amount of paper to worldwide markets because of the higher price paid to the Town.
It’s important to note, the RDF’s success starts with Wellesley residents. Your efforts make it possible for the RDF to sell good quality material at the highest global price. The estimated added revenue from the sale of exported sales is approximately $60,000 per year. Total sales revenue in FY 2014 was $380,544 and $608,577 was deposited into the Town’s General Fund.
Be sure to take a few moments and separate all your recyclables. Don’t throw them in the trash compactors. Remember, trees have to be cut down to make new paper products and for every ton of paper that is recycled, 17 trees will be saved. That equates to Wellesley residents saving over 60,000 trees last year.
-Guest editor Gordon Martin
Also of interest: