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Draper Journal

Don’t throw your paper out! Recycle it for free at a local school and they’ll benefit too

Feb 05, 2020 11:17AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

Green metal bins, like this one located in the parking lot of Summit Academy in Draper, are a free place for residents to drop off their paper products that aren’t accepted by the city’s Big 3 recycling program. Several local schools participate in this paper recycling option and they receive a monetary benefit if they collect enough paper. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

By Mimi Darley Dutton |[email protected]

With Draper City’s launch of the Big 3 recycling campaign last fall, many residents thought their only option for paper products other than corrugated cardboard was the garbage bin. That is not the case. Free collection points for recycling paper exist at schools throughout the city and those schools can get a monetary “kickback” for participating.

Green Fiber is a for-profit, national company with an office in West Valley. They started approximately 30 years ago in Utah as RediTherm, then became Green Fiber about a decade ago. The company turns the recycled paper into “cellulose insulation” for homes and businesses, according to Sandi McKamey, Green Fiber’s recycling coordinator.

“It actually packs tighter and makes things more soundproof than fiberglass. It’s 85% recycled and 15% chemicals that make it fire retardant but are natural chemicals. It’s a more natural alternative to standard fiberglass,” McKamey said. 

Green Fiber’s green collection bins for paper products reside in the parking lots of the following schools: Draper Park Middle, Corner Canyon High, Willow Springs Elementary, Summit Academy, Channing Hall and American Preparatory’s Lone Peak location. 

“Everything that is recycled here in Utah gets processed, turned into insulation and gets sold here in the United States. We never have sold to China,” said McKamey. The paper collected in Utah provides insulation for the northwest quadrant of the United States including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Wyoming and Utah. 

Green Fiber accepts all forms of paper including cereal, granola bar and cracker boxes (known as paperboard), magazines and catalogs (remove any plastic if they’re wrapped in it), office, school, construction and notebook paper (staples are okay, but not paperclips, binder clips or three ring binders). They also take junk mail, and there’s no need to remove the little plastic window found on some envelopes. Brown paper bags, egg cartons (not the Styrofoam or plastic ones), paper towel and toilet paper tubes are all accepted as are newspapers and all the advertisements stuffed within them. 

“If you can tear it, we can take it,” McKamey said. There are only three items Green Fiber can’t accept. They are wrapping paper, anything with a waxy coating such as milk and juice containers, and stickers and their backing. 

“We take cardboard too, but there is a market for cardboard, so that’s why single-stream recycling has cardboard on their list for the Big 3. Our favorite is newspaper. And we have our own bins floating around (the city) so it doesn’t get dirty when it’s co-mingled with other things in the recycling bin,” McKamey said. 

Participation is free, and schools who collect more than 2,000 pounds in a month get money in return. “It’s not a huge kickback, but it sometimes enough for a pizza party or for the kids to buy sweatshirts for their club — it just depends what the kids want to do with it,” McKamey said. 

Tyler Whittle is the executive director of Summit Academy Schools. “The monies collected have been credited to the student council to help fund school dances and school activities,” Whittle said. 

Draper City plans to offer a Green Fiber collection bin behind City Hall in the near future as well.