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Coronado's public recycle bin accepts clothing items, books, discs... if you can find it

       Sitting in a corner of Coronado High School's parking lot is a big blue recycle bin that anyone in the community is welcome to use.
       As the sign on it says, the bin accepts clothes, shoes, belts, purses, backpacks, fashion accessories, books, CDs and DVDs. The container was placed there last spring by Recycle That, a for-profit company that sells any donations to recycling companies.
       Recycle That has numerous other bins around the city - including some for the Ronald McDonald House, a charity that helps families in need, and some in other
Angela McKibben of the Coronado High PTA stands beside the school's Recycle That bin. Its current location is at the southeast corner of the school's parking lot. The school itself can be seen in the distance. A more centralized campus location is being considered.
Westside Pioneer photo
school districts - but for now the bin at Coronado is the only one in District 11.
       That happened through the efforts of the Coronado Parent-Teachers Association (PTA). “We came into contact with Recycle That through a PTA training more than a year ago,” related Angela McKibben, a Coronado PTA leader. “Since we hold a clothing exchange at Coronado, we were looking for a place that would accept our leftover items.”
       The timing was also good for Recycle That, which would like to have bins at more schools, according to Deb Markwith, the community programs director for the Recycle That state headquarters in Denver.
       Also active in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Recycle That collects recyclables and consolidates them for recycling entities, which buy the items and reuse or repurpose them. “The average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of used clothing, shoes and other textiles annually,” the company website states. “Forty-five percent of this can be reworn and made available throughout the U.S. and the world. Even worn, torn and stained clothing can be repurposed or recycled and kept out of our already-crowded landfills.”
       Markwith said her company's hope is that other D-11 schools will follow the Coronado lead, but that hasn't been the case yet.
       One possible reason is a difference in policy between D-11 and other school districts. While Markwith did not express it as a complaint, she did note that in most other districts Recycle That can approach a school individually, offering the incentive that it will earn money from having a bin on the school property.
       By contrast, in D-11, the Coronado bin's proceeds do not go directly to that school, but to the District 11 Foundation, a district nonprofit. As explained by foundation head Wayne Hutchison, such money is pooled with other funds raised by the foundation (the total averages about $12,000 annually). So bin earnings could come back to Coronado indirectly, in that the foundation awards grants to classrooms throughout the district.
       So far at least, that hasn't been much of a factor. The Coronado bin has been lightly used and made only $14 for the foundation in its first three months, Hutchison said.
       Still, the foundation's main goal with Recycle That is not financial, he clarified. So even if earnings stay low, the program is doing well by augmenting existing D-11 recycling and ecological efforts, he believes.
       LouAnn Dekleva, D-11's head of volunteer services and community partnerships, said she had contacted all the other district schools about having Recycle That bins, but none said yes. “I don't know why,” she said. “I think there could be concern about the logistics - finding the best spot to place it, making sure it doesn't become an eyesore, etc.”
       Placement may be a big reason for the Coronado bin's low use to date. It's at the extreme southeast corner of the school's parking lot. Despite being about 6 feet high by 4 feet wide, the bin is so out of the way, Hutchison said, that “the first time I went there I couldn't find it.” He also heard from someone else who had the same experience, then asked about it in the Coronado office, but the employee there didn't know where it was, either.
       Hutchison said that relocating the container is being discussed with Recycle That and Coronado, although a better site has not yet been identified. Currently, the best way to access it is by turning into the parking lot at the school stoplight. The bin is to the right, in the corner (as previously noted), next to the Fillmore Street sidewalk.
       McKibben is just glad that a bin is on campus. “It's nice to have a place where people can donate,” she said. “It used to be that Goodwill or the Ark would have to come by. This is super simple and makes it nice, plus we're supporting the District 11 Foundation, so it's a win-win for everyone.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/9/14 Schools: Coronado High)

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