By Brandi Underwood
For The Register-Herald
As Friday marked America Recycles Day 2013, trash was the topic on the table at Beckley Auto Mall, where the dealership’s recently initiated building-wide recycling program was recognized by the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority.
Beginning this summer, Lori Davis, dealer operator for Beckley Auto Mall, contacted the RCSWA regarding a possible recycling program for Hometown Automotive Group, Hyundai of Beckley, King Coal Chevrolet and Beckley Auto Mall.
“With the national recycling rate at less than 35 percent, we wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem,” Davis explained.
It was then that Sherrie Hunter, director of education for RCSWA, visited each dealership and provided on-site service training to all employees, explaining the “Three R’s” — reduce, reuse and recycle — and the benefits of participating in recycling at both work and home.
Soon after, RCSWA placed a recycling receptacle on the property of Hyundai of Beckley for the mutual use of each dealership participating.
Additionally, recycling bins were placed in the public areas of each dealership to allow customers to recycle cans, bottles and paper. Employees also have recycling bins in their individual offices.
In one month, the dealerships compiled 1,620 pounds of recyclable materials.
“That’s almost a ton of material in a month that won’t be going to the landfill,” Hunter remarked. “At that rate, that’s 19,400 pounds, nearly 10 tons a year, that will not enter the landfill.”
“America Recycles Day is a day that (RCSWA) is tasked with inspiring others to do the right thing,” Hunter said. “This is a small initiative now, but we’re teaching people that you can recycle at home, and you can also recycle at work.”
While the initiative is relatively small-scale now, it has the potential to grow much larger, according to Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automotive and Truck Dealers Association.
With 146 dealers across the state, Lemmon explained that the Beckley Auto Mall initiative, slated to be named “Dealers Driving for a Greener West Virginia,” is already being examined as a potential model for dealerships all over West Virginia.
“This is just the first blush,” Lemmon said. “It’s a starting point for the association to go a bit deeper into recycling.”
Lemmon explained that the last five years have included a stronger push toward recycling in the automotive industry, and all dealerships in the state are already taking the responsible steps of properly disposing of cleaning solvents, chemicals, paint, tires and more.
Hunter has already crunched the numbers on how far that initiative could reach in spreading to all dealerships in the association.
With 146 West Virginia dealers participating across the state, approximately 2 million pounds of material would be saved from cluttering state landfills, Hunter stated.
“Recycling is the right this to do,” Hunter said. “I’m so excited to see what happens.”
Any area business owners interested in implementing a recycling program at their office can contact Hunter at the RCSWA at 304-255-9335 for more information.
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