PAC fundraiser looks to spin metal into gold for local schools | CraigDailyPress.com

PAC fundraiser looks to spin metal into gold for local schools

The recycling effort raised nearly $6,000 for local schools last year

Michael Neary

— When the third annual Parent Advisory Committee Fundraiser starts its recycling effort on Friday — Earth Day — it will open up recycling bins to a sprawling range of once-useful household items.

"It's miscellaneous stuff that can't go in your trash dumpster," said Chris Thome.

The Moffat County fundraiser runs from Friday to May 7, as schools set up recycling bins designed to receive metal waste.

Thome is operations manager for Axis Steel, in Craig — the company that will process and pay for the collected items. Thome is also a PAC member.

Last year, the recycling project raised $5,904.22 for local schools, collecting about 65 tons of waste along the way.

"Typically it's a lot of appliances," Thome said. "It's stoves, washers and driers, the old lawn mower sitting behind the house."

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Most of the items, Thome explained, fall into the "light tin" category, as opposed to the more weighty "heavy structural beams."

Some things, such as a car battery or an entire car, cannot be dropped off at the school but can be donated on-site at Axis Steel, with profits going to a school of the donor's choice.

"We've had customers donate cars to (a school), and that goes to their total weight," Thome said. "Whichever school generates the most winds up getting the $500 bonus, on top of what we compensate per ton."

Thome said electronic items, such as cell phones and television sets, could not be collected. Schools are receiving flyers with lists of items that are acceptable, and items that are not.

As Thome walked through the grounds of Axis Steel this week, household histories — told in metal — seemed to emerge.

"Anything you can imagine, we get," he said. "Somebody dropped off a skill saw, somebody dropped off a leaf spring. There's an old pressure washer, an old burner. Bicycles. Tricycles. Satellite dishes. A stove pipe from a hot water heater."

Thome said Axis Steel employees sort and cut the materials, depending on the type of material, before sending it out to other facilities where the recycling process is completed.

He noted three different specifications of items.

One type includes "light goods," containing things as household appliances. Those items go to Salt Lake City or Denver, where they're shredded into quarter-sized pieces. Thome also mentioned "mild steel" and "heavy metal," with the latter category containing things such as axles and gears.

The recycling efficiency for steel products, Thome explained, is higher than it is for many other items.

"With steel, and the associated (materials of) copper, aluminum and brass, the recycling rate is three to four times what paper and plastic is," he said.

Paper and plastic, Thome said, require additives to recycle. Steel, on the other hand, "can be melted down and made into a new product."

And in the next few weeks, it can also squeeze out some funding for the local schools.

People seeking more information can call Axis Steel at 970-824-3256.