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2012-01-26

Uvalde County gets $23,864 grant for Utopia Recycling Center

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Uvalde County will be able to expand the services offered by the Utopia Recycling Center with the help of a $23,864 community development grant from Bandera Electric Cooperative and the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The grant money will be used for construction of an additional building, a used motor oil collection center and to add a second vertical baler. The additional building will enable the Utopia center to process more recyclables and reach out to surrounding communities, like Leakey and Concan.

The Utopia Recycling Center is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 am until 2 pm. The center is run on donations from the community and grants from area organizations. The entire facility is made possible through the work of volunteers from the community. According to Claudia Rogers, chair for the Keep Utopia Beautiful Board of Directors, "We have the best people! I don't know how we could do it otherwise."

The passion of all the volunteers is evident. One of them, O'Neil Stout, was honored as the 2010 Keep Texas Beautiful Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Utopia facility.

According to Debbie Corley, Member Relations Supervisor for BEC, "Bandera Electric is proud to be associated with this program and with the Lower Colorado River Authority. One of our cooperative principles is concern for community, and these grants assist not only the organizations that receive them but all of our Members by improving the communities in which they live."

According to Rogers, recycling not only helps the environment by keeping trash out of landfills, but also saves area residents money. They pay $1 for each bag taken to the dump and with recycling, most residents report cutting their trash, and thus their trash costs, in half.

In 2010, the Utopia center sent 50 tons of recyclables to mills. That trash included over 100,000 plastic water bottles and 25 tons of cardboard.

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA's Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA's electric and water service areas.

To learn more about the Utopia Center, visit www.keeputopiabeautiful.org.