Shop Demo Depot in Mt. Pleasant is lauded as 'Waste Watcher'
By A.J. Panian
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Shop Demo Depot was recently recognized as a “Pennsylvania Waste Watcher.”
The facility — operated by Westmoreland Community Action, a Greensburg-based nonprofit, at the former Cook's Lumber site in Mt. Pleasant — accepts tax-deductible donations of surplus and reusable building supplies from businesses, manufacturers and the public.
Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania bestowed the recognition on Shop Demo Depot for what the group called the local operation's outstanding recycling programs and projects.
The Pennsylvania Waste Watchers program recognizes recycling, waste reduction, reuse, and composting programs in the state that have exhibited exemplary performance, according to Kelly Megonnel, executive director.
“Recycling has become a billion dollar industry in Pennsylvania, and with each passing year, there is a steady increase in the amount of collected recyclables and the number of jobs created by the industry,” Megonnel said.
Shop Demo Depot — a nonprofit partnership of three regional agencies that is managed as a WCA program — was nominated for the honor by Ellen Keefe, executive director of Westmoreland Cleanways.
“It's proven to be a very successful program, and they've definitely expanded on their original concept, so it's really fulfilling a valuable need in the community,” Keefe said. “We are lucky to have Shop Demo Depot in Westmoreland County.”
In 2012, Shop Demo Depot received more than 10,000 reusable building material items from the public, said Amy Schirf, chairwoman for the “Waste Watcher Awards” committee and education coordinator of the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority.
Over that time, Shop Demo Depot welcomed more than 8,000 shoppers, Schirf said.
The store — located in 43,000 square feet of space on 5.5-acres at 23 W. Main St., One Cooks Way — also offers Amazon Recycled Paint, a drop-off location for electronic recycling and paper recycling, and they divert thousands of pounds of building materials from the landfills each year.
“PROP is excited to present Shop Demo Depot with a Waste Watcher Award for the wonderful environmental service that they are providing to their residents,” Schirf said.
Shop Demo Depot deconstruction manager Kim Giles said the facility has even bigger goals for 2013.
“I told (the awards organization) our goal is to double what we did last year by the end of this year,” she said.
More than 70 municipalities, counties, businesses, individuals and community organizations from throughout the commonwealth have been tabbed as Waste Watchers, primarily for exceeding what is mandated under Act 101 for their communities or programs, Megonnel said.
Act 101 — the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act — has helped generate significant economic and environmental benefits for more than two decades, Megonnel said.
Recycling has saved precious resources and energy, limited greenhouse emissions as well as other air and water pollutants, she added.
“This growth and success is the result of a serious commitment to recycling by individuals, businesses, government and recycling and organics industry personnel like these award winners,” Megonnel said.
For a complete list of Waste Watchers winners, visit proprecycles.org.
New operations manager is hired
Shop Demo Depot recently hired Ken Czerpak as the facility's new operations manager.
Czerpak, 26, of Derry previously worked in managerial positions for several “big box stores” which dealt in home improvement services throughout western Pennsylvania, he said.
The draw to Shop Demo Depot, according to Czerpak, came with the facility's mission.
“I like to know that, when I have a full day of work ahead of me, what I am doing will in some way be of help to the community and not just make money for my bosses,” Czerpak said.
In addition to subscribing to Shop Demo Depot's plan of action, Czerpak has also applied his skills to streamline the organization of merchandise for sale at the facility, said Rene Mulroy, an employee who oversees recycling and donations.
“We've had many compliments on the new setup,” Mulroy said. “Ken is a great asset to this company.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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