MT. VERNON – A new state grant will enable Jefferson County Comprehensive Services to open up its recycling program to the general public.
Since August, the company has operated a paper and cardboard recycling facility out of its local site, catering to schools, churches and businesses in the area.
However, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, JCCS now plans to place a recycling trailer in Mt. Vernon where the general public can drop off paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum for recycling.
“It diverts a lot of materials out of the landfill,” said Jamie Dodson, recycling coordinator for JCCS. “It makes our community greener and it helps people fulfill their longing for social responsibility.”
Comprehensive Services is a multi-purpose center that helps the developmentally disabled find work. The facility also operates a mental health counseling program, a substance abuse treatment program and more.
For many years, JCCS has recycled at its work sites, but it wasn't until last August that the company began recycling out of its own facility. The on-site program was started to create employment for the disabled at JCCS and to provide the facility with a sustainable funding stream.
With the program, JCCS places labeled bins in participating businesses, churches and schools to collect recyclable materials. These bins are emptied regularly and the materials are sorted and recycled at JCCS. From January to June of this year, an estimated 33 tons of paper and cardboard has been recycled at the site.
The service is free to the businesses taking part. Comprehensive Services makes money by selling the recycled paper and cardboard to its vendor, Dodson said.
The state grant will allow an already successful program to be expanded, Dodson said. JCCS has purchased the new 16-by-6 foot trailer, which is currently under construction. Grant funding has also been used to buy a pallet jack with a scale and 100 new recycling bins.
Organizers have not yet decided on a location for the trailer, but it should be placed in a little over a month.
Last week, JCCS was presented with a Green Business Award from Rend Lake College in recognition of the company's recycling program.
The planned expansion of the program is great news for the community, said Greg Hollmann, associate professor at RLC. Placing a trailer at a highly visible location in Mt. Vernon should make it easier for residents to recycle, he said.
“The more convenient you make recycling, the better,” Hollmann said. “Having it at a highly visible location where people might be going anyway will help out the cause.”
For more information on Jefferson County Comprehensive Services, contact Jamie Dodson at 242-7300, ext. 254.