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The DOCO Sheltered Workshop Board appreciates the opportunity to respond to a recent letter to the editor from one of our fellow recyclers, Mr. Walt Walters. We want to address some of his concerns, and to help him and others in the community understand how many of the recent changes at DOCO have become necessary.
The recyclables that are given to the center are sorted, and either baled or stacked in bins awaiting transport to a company that buys them from us. Glass has never been a commodity with a long term, stable market; in fact, most of the time we spend more money on the processing than we receive. Since our mission for the recycling center is to divert as much trash from the landfill as possible, the board felt we should continue to accept glass.
The board approved a grant and purchase of a glass pulverizing machine to process our glass into marketable sand. The machine was not capable of handling all the glass we received so the surplus was put in our own trash at our expense. The city government made a formal request that we cease putting any glass in our trash, so we reluctantly informed our patrons that we could no longer accept glass without a small service charge. Currently we are still pulverizing glass for sale, but must get the surplus to the landfill. We plan to soon begin shipping our surplus to a larger recycling facility in Springfield, again at our own expense.
About the same time, we also received official notification that we were not allowed to accept trash with our recyclables, and that we needed to take action to reduce the amount of trash that was on our property at any given time. So, we again needed to notify our patrons that since the honor system of not bringing trash to the collection bins had failed, we could only accept recyclables when center personnel were on duty. We were reluctant to make these changes because we are also patrons of the recycling center, and we liked being able to recycle at our own convenience too. As a result of the changes, the amount of trash coming in with the recyclables has been drastically reduced.
When the employees of DOCO are at work, they are sometimes out of range of the sound of the bell. While it is frustrating not to get an answer to the bell, we are confident that it was because the staff were working in a noisy environment and couldn’t hear it, not that we’re merely ignoring the bell. The work ethic of all the staff at DOCO is very high, and they would never want someone to be upset with them-so they conduct themselves accordingly. We as a board will consider improved methods of customer service, but we also understand there will be times when the staff will not hear the bell. We are sorry that this is an issue for our patrons, and we encourage your patience in these situations.
We appreciate all the residents of the area, whether they live in the city limits or not, that use the recycling center to help divert trash from the landfill. We are happy to provide this service to everyone; however, since we are located in the city limits we must also be good citizens and adhere to the rules that are in place by our city government. That involves keeping our facility as neat as reasonably possible, and efficiently handling other business at the center whether it be grinding and loading mulch, purchasing aluminum, or processing the recyclables that are placed in the collection bins. We encourage you to make an appointment with the DOCO manager for a tour of the facility; we like for you to see what happens with your recyclables, and see other operations of the DOCO Sheltered Workshop. We’re always happy to have qualified volunteers too!
We hope this explains the necessary changes we have made lately at the DOCO recycling center. We believe, as Mr. Walters does, that our conscientious patrons were not abusing the center, and we also agree that recycling is the right thing to do. We hope you will join us in continuing to recycle, even though it is slightly less convenient for us all.
We do appreciate input and suggestions from members of our community. We always remain open to ideas that might help us be more effective and efficient. Though we may have limitations due to ever changing economic conditions, we strive to provide the best services possible within our capabilities.
Mary Martha Williams
Jim Brown, Workshop manager