It’s a been a consistent fundraiser for the Dell Rapids Lions Club for more than 10 years. But now it’s over.
The Lions Club will begin looking for a new fundraising source after last week’s announcement that the bi-weekly paper recycling program has come to an end. The Lions Club began the project in 2008 and worked with Iowa-based Mason City Recycling.
The recycling company provided the 53-foot trailers that sat on the corner of 3rd and Orleans in Dell Rapids. Once the trailers were filled, MCR retrieved them and brought them back to their home plant.
MCR used the recycled paper to make insulation. The company cited rising operating costs, coupled with lower product prices, as the reason to eliminate the partnership with the Lions Club.
“It happened very suddenly and we’re really disappointed about it, but we understand it’s the cost of business,” said Sue Hovey, secretary for the Dells Lions Club. “It’s just economics on their part, and it got too expensive for them.”
Not only is the loss of the partnership with MCR a hit to the Lions Club fundraising efforts, Hovey says she hopes it isn’t also a burden on the landfill.
“We’re just going to very much miss providing that service for Dell Rapids,” she said. “That’s an awful lot of paper that didn’t get just thrown away. Recycling can still be done through the garbage haulers, and we hope that people will continue to recycle.”
The city of Dell Rapids lists six different garbage service providers on its official website. Julie Schreurs of Garbage-N-More says they currently don’t have an arrangement with the city of Dell Rapids to take on the additional recycling load that’s certain to hit the garbage service providers. But she says they plan on meeting with mayor Tom Earley to come up with a plan.
“At this point it’s going to be a matter of reteaching customers since they don’t have that place to go to anymore,” Schreurs said. “Right now, every customer is allowed to put their recycling out with their garbage, and we’ll pick it up.”
Although a simple Lions Club project that occurred just twice monthly, the impact on Dell Rapids could be significant. The current trailer that is sitting at the corner of 3rd and Orleans is completely full and ready to be transported back to Mason City. That trailer is the 62nd to be filled to capacity, and more than 1.6 million pounds of paper have been recycled over the past 11 years.
About four trailers are filled each year, and the program has raised more than $31,000 which the Lions Club has given back to the Dell Rapids community for various causes.
“To everyone who supported this project over the years, thank you,” Hovey said. “Without your bags and boxes of paper, old books, and pick-up loads of cardboard, we would not have been able to do it.”
The paper recycling program isn’t the only fundraiser for the Lions Club. The popular meat raffle at Norby’s Bar & Grill is another money maker, and Hovey says the club has already met to build another event to replace the recycling program.
“We’ve brainstormed, and we’ll continue to do that. But nothing is settled, nothing is decided,” she said. “We’re just going to really miss that huge connection with the community that we had with the recycling program. It kept our faces out there, and the community could see how hard we did work for the money. It was always the people that made it work.”
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