RICHMOND — As Virginians around the Commonwealth celebrate Earth Day, the Virginia Department of Corrections continues to position itself as a statewide leader in recycling efforts. In 2014, the Department collected 1,100 tons of cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, tin and stretch film.
“As a public safety agency, we strive to improve the quality of life in the Commonwealth, and one simple but effective way to contribute is by recycling,” said Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) Director Harold Clarke. “We strive to be innovative and progressive in every area we touch, relying on evidence-based practices and current research. Recycling is a natural extension of what we do.”
Among the Department’s shining stars in 2014’s recycling efforts was Central Virginia Unit #13 in Chesterfield. The correctional unit stepped up its recycling efforts in earnest about two years ago. In 2012, the facility recycled 14.96 tons. The next year, that number increased to 16 tons, and last year, Unit #13 managed to recycle nearly 20 tons of material.
“The key to Central Virginia Unit #13’s success is the hard working employees that have developed, implemented, and sustained an effective recycling program. Unit #13 is a small unit, and its success shows what a few determined people can do,” said Courtney Cotton, VADOC’s Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator.
Among the Department’s other outstanding efforts in 2014 are those of Bland Correctional Center, which went from collecting only a little more than one-tenth of a ton in 2012 to more than 19 tons in 2013 and a whopping 34.7 tons in 2014.
Sussex I and Sussex II state prisons, among the first prisons in Virginia to establish recycling programs, have continued their leading roles as well. “They have consistently since 2010 recycled 54-66 tons of recyclables per institution per year,” said Cotton. “We have learned from our experiences at the Sussex facilities. Many of our recycling efforts around the state are based on successes and lessons learned from Sussex I and II,” Cotton said.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.