Bossier parish implements cardboard recycling program

A recycling program sponsored by the Bossier Parish Police Jury and Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office has the potential to be beneficial not only for the environment, but also for the bottom line of both agencies.

A baler, purchased by the Parish Police Jury, is currently crushing waste cardboard into bales at Bossier Parish Maximum Security Prison on Old Plain Dealing Rd.

Labor to transport materials from nearby facilities and operate the unit is provided by inmates, supervised by Sheriff Julian Whittington’s Department.

A first in northern Louisiana

It is the first retraining program instituted in a correctional facility in northern Louisiana. Cardboard and paper waste is diverted from landfills to recycling centers, and the proceeds are donated to a local non-profit agency.

“We are starting with cardboard and paper and will endeavor to incorporate other recyclable items as resources permit,” said Lynn Bryan, executive director of Keep Bossier Beautiful. Bryan’s organization will receive proceeds from the recycled material to help fund its programs and activities.

“I cannot express how much we appreciate the police jury and the sheriff’s office who worked to make this project possible; it’s a win-win for everyone. Bryan said. “It’s a wonderful program, and it’s just the start of what we can do together. It complements our recycling school program where local schools recycle cardboard and received a cardboard dumpster for a trial period, courtesy of Blake Bunnett, CEO of Renewaste Solutions.

Less garbage cans and waste pick-ups

Ted Alford is the facility corrections maintenance superintendent and oversees the retraining effort. He sees the program as a money saver in addition to being environmentally friendly.

“We take this waste out of already overcrowded landfills and turn it into reusable materials,” he said. “It’s great for the environment, but we also save money because there is less waste to transport. We can probably justify less garbage cans and less garbage pick-ups. “

From left to right, Blake Bunnett, Managing Director of Renewaste Solutions; Lynn Bryan, executive director of Keep Bossier Beautiful; Jim Firth, Bossier Parish Police Jury Purchasing Agent / Director; Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Captain Craig Stokes, Head of Prison Command; John Ed Jorden, member of the Bossier Parish Police Jury, District 4 which includes the prisons; Ted Alford, Correctional Services Maintenance Superintendent who oversees the recycling program.

According to Alford, the recycling effort has been underway for about six weeks. Four bales, each weighing an average of nearly 1,000 pounds, have been generated so far. He estimates that the program can produce one bale of cardboard every 10 days, and 10 bales would be optimal for transport to a recycling center.

Carton now, cans next

Bossier Parish purchasing agent and operations manager Jim Firth purchased the machine from Renewaste after studying the potential economic and environmental impact of recycling efforts.

“Recycling is important for the environment, and we believe it will help us save money as well,” Firth said. “We think our savings just for transporting waste could be around ten to fifteen thousand dollars a year, and that might be prudent.”

Firth said he plans to add a covered structure to house the cardboard baler to the police jury’s budget. And, he added, the press may soon have company.

“Our next step is to buy a recycling machine to take care of the large volume of cans going through the prisons,” he said. “A lot of the items bought here are in large boxes, and it makes sense to recycle rather than take these items to landfill. “

Save taxpayer dollars and protect the environment

Bryan said the benefits of the first recycling program in northwest Louisiana to be located in a jail, a program she calls “Bossier Parish Prisons Recycle,” justify the effort.

“Together, we will reduce the cost of waste and the amount of material transported to our landfills,” she said. “Meanwhile, we are saving taxpayers’ money and improving our environment. She is happy to be associated with entities that make things happen.

Keep Bossier Beautiful is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Circle of Excellence Award from Keep America Beautiful. KBB is the recipient of a cleaning supplies grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Inc., the state’s waste management and community improvement organization focused on education, enforcement, outreach and cleaning.

Additional investments in their work include a donation of $ 9,000 from the Alta and John Franks Foundation.

– Featured photo: Lynn Bryan of Keep Bossier Beautiful sits on four cardboard bales, each weighing approximately 1,000 pounds.