Styrofoam recycling a win for environment and employees at plant

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EASTLAKE, OH - The spirit of the season is alive and well at Buckeye Industries in Eastlake, and not because Christmas is days away.

Jozlynn Jones and her colleagues spread joy in the warehouse where they’ve been developing job skills recycling Styrofoam and cardboard.

It’s a place where they learn about life, from how to hold a job to a simple conversation, while at the same time getting paid.

“I can buy my own clothes and buy my own hygiene products,” said Jones.

Buckeye Industries is a subsidiary of New Avenues to Independence, an organization that provides vocational training and employment to people living with disabilities; but the giving doesn’t end there.

The non-profit provides free recycling of Styrofoam and cardboard to anyone who drops it off at the Curtis Blvd warehouse.

“We send a truckload over maybe once a week or something like that,” said Gordon Giffen, a warehouse employee from A-Z Furniture on East 55th Street in Cleveland.

He’s been dropping off Styrofoam free of charge for the last few months, when taking a truckload to a landfill could run his company anywhere from $350 to $700 a trip.

“How beneficial is that to the business?” asked Fox8’s Lorrie Taylor.

“Very beneficial,” said Giffen.

Once the Styrofoam has been recycled, companies can use it to make picture frames or the kind of insulation seen on the outside of buildings.

Tom Lewins, Director of New Avenues, said giving to clients and the community while protecting Mother Earth is what the program is all about.

“It’s satisfying because that’s really what we intended,” said Lewins.

It’s the reason for the season and for New Avenues to Independence.

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