Annual Holt paper drive has collected its last newspapers

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Man loads newspaper into a trailer

Kiwanis member John Hayhoe (in the trailer) said he’s come to terms with the paper drive ending

By Max Gun
Holt Journal staff writer

After 35 years of recycling newspapers at the Holt Plaza, the Holt Kiwanis sponsored paper drive has collected its last papers. Jan. 26 marked the final day for the event, which took place every four months

Tom Lonergan, chairman of the event for the past four years, said he foresaw the paper drive ending.

“Ever since the newspapers have diminished in size and circulation, we knew this day was going to come,” he said. “We used to get a large number of Detroit News and Free Press papers, but over the last several years, we barely saw any since they downsized. “Once the Lansing State Journal downsized their newspaper as well, we just didn’t generate enough papers for this to be an operable event.”

John Hayhoe, a Kiwanis Club member who assisted with the paper drive for 29 years, said they only accepted newspapers because they could be shredded to make insulation.

“We teamed up with Applegate Insulation, who gave us two trailers to load with newspapers,” he said. “They would weigh the newspapers, shred them and use them for property insulation.”

Hayhoe also said Applegate Insulation would pay $30 per ton of newspapers, and that each trailer could hold about 20 tons.

“This used to be a very profitable event when we could fill two full trailers. We used the money for different Holt projects such as buying new books for students, or sending kids to camp over the summer,” he said. “However, over the last few years, we could only fill one half of a trailer, and in January we only filled one third of a trailer, so we decided to call it quits.”

Wayne Quick, a Kiwanis club member who donated his time to the paper drive for six years, said it used to be one of the club’s largest fundraisers.

“Four or five years ago, we could make $400 to $600 per paper drive,” he said. “But recently, it has because a struggle to make $200 per drive. People these days have iPads and Kindles, so why would they get a newspaper?”

Hayhoe, Lonergan and Quick attributed the addition of the Delhi Township recycling center as another reason for the drop in newspaper supplies. The recycling center was built four years ago.

Sandra Diorka, director of public services of Delhi Charter Township, said there was immediate conflict with the Kiwanis when the Holt Recycling Center opened in 2008.

“The Kiwanis said that we were going to take all of their newspapers, but that was not our intent whatsoever,” she said. “Our intent is and was to provide citizens of Holt a place to drop off their recyclables on a daily basis, as opposed to the four times a year the Kiwanis did a paper drive.

Diorka also said the recycling center attempted to team up with the Kiwanis to save newspapers for their drive, but that both sides realized it was not worth it.

In recent years, the recycling center has been receiving less paper, too. Although the center does not break out newsprint, it has seen mixed paper go from 495 tons in 2010 to 336 tons in 2011 to 328 tons last year.

Nationally, newsprint recycling went down from 2000 to 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We could definitely see the writing on the wall,” Hayhoe said. “Even our manpower had begun to diminish. But after 35 profitable years, we’ve come to terms with it.”

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