CRYSTAL RIVER, FLA. - What do 21 Volkswagen Beetles, three elephants and a single month's worth of recycled material from the Crystal River Nuclear Plant Unit 3 (CR3) have in common?
They all weigh about 21 tons.
CR3 employees recently launched a comprehensive recycling initiative and are already diverting approximately 85 percent of previously discarded trash, according to Jon Franke, site vice president.
The plant's recycling success caught the attention of Keep Citrus County Beautiful (KCCB) board members, who presented a Pride Award to the program for helping to promote responsible environmental stewardship in the community.
KCCB is a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to help homeowners and businesses in Citrus County develop waste solutions and keep the community litter-free.
"The amount of material that CR3 has diverted from mainstream disposal in just one month is quite remarkable," KCCB President Susie Metcalfe said. "Recycling programs usually require a learning curve, but CR3 employees jumped on board immediately."
"We hope that by recognizing their accomplishment, we'll inspire other area businesses to lessen their environmental footprints," she added.
To launch CR3's recycling program, employees formed a task force, calling themselves the "Blue Crew," a reference to the bright blue containers that are commonly used for recycling throughout the U.S.
Although CR3 had a limited recycling program for a number of years, the Blue Crew initiative is CR3's first concentrated site-wide effort to divert the majority of its office product waste into a recycling system.
Led by CR3 employee volunteer Natalie Harness, the Blue Crew analyzed recycling options available to businesses in Citrus County before selecting a single-stream recycling process. With the single-stream process, employees can place all recyclable material including paper products, plastics and aluminum cans, in single bins.
"When we conducted our research, we discovered we could save about $145,000 a year in disposal costs and also implement a program that is extremely easy and convenient for employees to use," Harness said. "Plus, it is the right thing to do. Our employees are very motivated to do their part to help preserve the planet for future generations."
The Blue Crew team has distributed 1,000 blue recycling bins throughout CR3, so workers have the opportunity to recycle at their work stations whether they are in an office or in the field.
"Recycling saves energy, creates jobs and is great for the environment," Harness said. "We're happy to be a part of the solution and hope we are showing other businesses how easy it is to make a difference."
Progress Energy Florida
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. More information is available at www.progress-energy.com.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.