Latimore, lone local recycler, celebrates 30 years | Local News

The timeworn sign posted at the Latimore Township municipal complex seeks volunteers for the community’s recycling program.

It was posted three decades ago, and officials are uncertain if the sign has ever been replaced. Why swap it when the message has resulted in fruitful and sustained results?

After launching in the early 1990s, the Latimore Township Recycling Center is marking its 30th anniversary – an impressive feat considering the free and popular service is managed and administered entirely by volunteers.

“I’ve always been a big believer that sometimes you can’t give or contribute money, but you can volunteer your time,” said Ralph Alleman, a York Springs area resident who has been volunteering at the facility for a decade.

The long-time program coordinator, Sam Giardullo, relocated to the township nearly three decades ago and saw the sign seeking volunteers. He has overseen the program ever since, and directs a core group of volunteers who has dedicated a combined 130-plus years of service toward the endeavor.

“When you look around Adams County, there is nothing quite like it,” said Giardullo, now 72-years-old.

Currently, Latimore Township is the only municipality in Adams County that offers such a service. Elsewhere, recycling costs are incorporated into a quarterly bill tied to a municipality’s waste contract.

Latimore residents do not receive a bill, unless they opt to participate in the municipality’s waste contract. It is not required. As a result, the volunteer-led recycling center saves Latimore residents about $20 a quarter, or $79 annually.

“Ever since we’ve been here, we’ve never had a recycling bill that I can recall,” said volunteer Mark Schoppaul.

The township’s volunteer portfolio includes up to 18 people, of which eight are regular rotating helpers and the remaining are fill-ins. Local students and Boy Scouts also assist for school credit.

Mark and Lynn Schoppaul, of York Springs, saw the sign 28 years ago posted at the township’s headquarters. They’ve been reliable volunteers since that time.

“It gets everything off the side of the road, makes the township look better, and keeps taxes low compared to other municipalities,” said Lynn Schoppaul, who recently retired from the Gettysburg Area School District IT Department.

“The best thing we hear from people is, we’re just glad you’re here,” added Mark Schoppaul.

Located adjacent to the municipal complex at 559 Old US Route 15 in northern Adams County, the Latimore Township Recycling Center is open to the public from 10 a.m. until noon every Saturday, except for holiday weekends.

During a routine Saturday morning in the rural municipality, there are at least a pair of volunteers manning the site. The operation would be non-existent without the philanthropic faithful.

“It’s a testament to everyone who makes it work, and to the township officials for supporting the program,” said Giardullo.

It is not uncommon for vehicles to be lined up five or six deep on a routine Saturday morning, encircling the municipal parking lot and awaiting service from the recycling center’s volunteers. Customer service is always a top priority.

“Everyone’s welcome, we do not question whether they’re a resident or non-resident,” said Giardullo. “People just enjoy seeing a friendly face and participating in a worthwhile endeavor.”

Local junior high football and track coach Bob Descheemaeker has been volunteering with the program for at least 28 years. His wife started recycling before him, and that prompted his interest in Latimore’s efforts.

“When the program started, there was never enough help,” said Descheemaeker. “Times have changed. We’ve had a dedicated group for a while.”

York Springs area sign maker Jeff Painter is uncertain how long he’s made visiting the recycling center, a weekend tradition. All he recalls is learning about the free and popular service via a township newsletter. He brought a truck full of cardboard to the facility on Saturday, June 4.

“They’re great volunteers, and it’s heartwarming to know that people still volunteer for their community,” said Painter.

Latimore Township Planning Commission member Holly Leppo has been delivering recyclables to the facility for as long as she can remember. From neighboring Franklin Township in York County, Tom Casssell has utilized the program ever since his municipality’s service ceased a few years ago. He drops off plastics and cardboard every other week.

“It’s a great program for the local community. They are few and far between,” said Cassell.

The program launched in the early 1990s when Latimore officials received a recycling grant. An existing maintenance shed at the site has undergone multiple transformations since then, but has ultimately served as an appropriate home for the program.

At first, the space was cramped, but the volunteers and the public adjusted.

In the 30 years that followed, Tyrone Township launched a program, as well as Franklin Township in York County. Both programs have since folded.

The township has had a multi-year relationship with the Adams County Rescue Mission, which picks up the recyclables every Tuesday.

“It takes a commitment and devotion, and we’ve always had that here,” said Giardullo. “If you build it, they will come.”

Acceptable items include plastics, aluminum cans, soda bottles (no glass), milk and water jugs, magazines and newspapers, clothing and textiles, and office paper and catalogs, among other items.

Glass, batteries and electronics are not permissible. However, as part of the municipality’s new multi-municipal refuse contract with Waste Management, two electronic recycling days are part of the arrangement.

An electronic recycling event was held in Huntington Township on May 21, and a Latimore event is planned for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Residents of Latimore, Huntington and the Borough of York Springs are welcome to participate.

Volunteers have pointed out that much has changed in the recycling industry over the past 30 years, such as the discontinuation of glass, due to high costs. Changes in consumer habits have also reduced the amount of newsprint and related newspaper products. Previously, newspapers were recycled back into the community for agricultural use.

“We’ve seen it all,” said Giardullo, a retired systems analyst computer specialist for the US Department of Defense. “When you look back and see how everything has changed, and our program is still relevant, its shows that we’ve been able to adjust.”

There are no taxpayer dollars associated with the current operation, nor have any municipal funds been utilized to subsidize the program over the years.

To date, the Latimore Township Recycling Center is the only locally-managed program in Adams County.

“People take the time to volunteer and they care enough to do it,” said Leppo. “Volunteer work keeps taxes low.”

The township has not raised taxes in 22 years, according to Supervisor Chair Dan Worley, with services such as the recycling center playing a factor in that track record. New volunteers wishing to dedicate time toward the program may call the township office at 717-528-4614 or email latimore@latimore.org.



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