WF Chamber hears about local recycling program’s success

What was called a “well-hidden secret” was described in detail at the Wednesday meeting of the West Frankfort Chamber of Commerce. The monthly speaker was Paul Ford of The H Group, who told local business leaders about the behavioral health service providers’ growing recycling program.

Ford explained that the recycling program started because The H Group had equipment, such as a baler, needed to help the City of West Frankfort with a citywide clean-up program. The clean-up effort spawned the idea of providing a place for residents and businesses in the area to drop off recyclables – something that can now be done at the recycling center, located behind the The H Group’s building at 902 W. Main St. in West Frankfort.

In addition to paper, plastic, cardboard and aluminum of all types, the recycling program has grown to accept electronics such as old televisions, radios and DVD players. Ford said the electronics are then taken to a Carbondale recycling program. “We won’t make money off of this, but we accept electronics as a community service,” Ford said.

The H Group’s local recycling program has also become the region’s recycling center for CDs and DVDs, which are shipped to West Frankfort from 17 different states for processing. Each part of a CD, from the paper liner to the plastic case to the CD itself is recyclable, Ford said.

The speaker was especially compelling when he described the recycling program’s ultimate purpose – to provide jobs for the developmentally disabled, who sort the recyclable items. “They have been told so many times in their life what they could not do,” Ford said. “We show them what they can do.”

The H Group also offers shredding services through its recycling program. Items to be shredded can be brought to the center, or confidential shredding can be done on-site for businesses. “This especially appeals to banks and lawyers, for example,” Ford said.

A $100,000 grant recently allowed The H Group to purchase a box truck for delivering and picking up bins to collect recyclables in other locations. With that came a full time job created for a driver. Other growth to come in the near future includes a larger shredder, expansion of collections made now in various Franklin County communities and expansion to other cities. “We are crawling now, in our early stages,” said Ford.
The Chamber’s monthly program was preceded by a short business session, which included approval of new directors for the Chamber Board and the slate of officers for 2013. Jessica Rude of Shelter Insurance will assume the mantle of Chamber President in January at the annual meeting.
— Bruce A. Fasol
Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News