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ARC of St. Mary recycling program facing shortfall

The ARC of St. Mary’s recycling program is facing major changes.
Kristal Hebert, executive director, told the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday that, “It’s been costing us money for quite some time now…plastic vendors are no longer accepting it to recycle. I don’t even have room to put it. People are bringing it to us and were’ just having to throw it away.”
She said newspaper recycling has dropped drastically, and from here on, only cardboard and aluminum cans will be handled by the workers.
“It’s costing me triple to process the recyclables than what we make,” Hebert said. “I am going to ask the council and the cities to contribute to the operation. If we can’t get help, I’ll have to shut that whole program down.”
There are 23 individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities employed by Arc of St. Mary: seven janitorial, four in the thrift store and 12 in recycling.
She said the budget will be $16,000 short in the next fiscal year.
“It’s sad and unfortunate, but we just can’t do it,” Hebert said. “We’re one of the few ARCs left that actually do recycling. Some just do cardboard and cans because it’s easier and you can make money. Those who do plastic have substantial contracts from the parish, and acres and acres of land to store it.”
Hebert invited the council and public to a recycling and family day April 24, beginning at 11:30 a.m. “I’m always bragging about how it’s different when you’re at the center,” she said. “If you come and get the feel for it and see how it is, how important it is to these people who go to work their every day.”
All employees will still have jobs, she stressed.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said there would be an outreach to the five municipalities regarding continued recyclables collection, and possibly share in assisting in the shortfall of revenues.

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