published Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Orange Grove grows in electronics recycling

by Tamara Best

* What: The John F. Germ Recycling Center

* Organization: Orange Grove Center

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    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Plant maintenance man Terry Sullivan places recyclables onto a conveyer belt to be sorted at the John F. Germ Recycling Center.

* How is it green: The center receives 1 and 2 million pounds of recyclable material a month, which is sorted, keeping it from ending up in landfills.

* When: Orange Grove has operated a recycling program for 22 years

* Why do it this way? The recycling program allows companies to dispose of items in an environmentally responsible way. Workers are responsible for sorting, recycling, bailing material, among other tasks.

* Plans for expanding in the future? Expansion efforts are focused on electronic items in addition to document destruction, Tara Roberts, director of adult services. "We want more and electronics, as much as we can get because we have found that disassembling electronics is another great source of jobs and there are not many people set up right now to be able to handle that." The document destruction program was launched in October 2009 and Ms. Roberts said it's a "perfect niche" for workers and clients.

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? "You can't go wrong with recycling," she said. Ms. Roberts also said she encourages businesses to realize that despite initial up front costs, it is more cost effective in the long run.

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? Recycling initiatives around Chattanooga also help to provide meaningful work to area residents with developmental disabilities, Ms. Roberts said. "There's a huge growth potential right now in the recycling business and it's an exciting time." For more information on the program visit

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