RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Corrections released a statement last week on Earth Day about its continued recycling efforts since 2012, positioning itself as a statewide leader in recycling. In 2014, the department collected 1,100 tons of cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, tin and stretch film among its various facilities.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Central Virginia Unit #13 in Chesterfield stood out in the department’s 2014 recycling efforts. The correctional unit started increasing its recycling efforts about two years ago. In 2012, the facility recycled 14.96 tons, and that number increased to 16 tons in 2013. In 2014, Unit #13 recycled nearly 20 tons of material.
“The key to Central Virginia Unit #13’s success is the hardworking employees that have developed, implemented and sustained an effective recycling program,” said Courtney Cotton, VADOC’s Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator, in a statement. “Unit #13 is a small unit, and its success shows what a few determined people can do.”
Bland Correctional Center in Bland is another facility that dramatically increased its recycling efforts from 2012 to 2014. The facility went from collecting only a little more than one-tenth of a ton in 2012 to more than 19 tons in 2013 and 34.7 tons in 2014.
Sussex I and Sussex II state prisons, located adjacent to one another in Waverly, were among the first prisons in Virginia to establish recycling programs, and they have also continued their leading roles in the department’s recycling efforts.
“They have consistently since 2010 recycled 54 to 66 tons of recyclables per institution per year,” Cotton said in a statement. “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.”