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Sedona Recycles ended fiscal 2008 in the black.

Stringent budgeting in the fourth quarter when the prices and markets for most of its recycling materials plummeted allowed the nonprofit to end the year with a little money left over.

“We had a very good year through September, but for the last four months [including January] our materials sales have dropped about 46 percent on average compared with last year,” said Ron Mohney, treasurer. “We’re projecting a net surplus for 2009 predicated on an anticipated modest rebound in materials’ prices and successful fundraising.”

Reductions in wages are also budgeted to save $30,000 but the big savings in 2009 will come via a new vehicle purchased in 2008.

The vehicle caused a one-time hit on Sedona Recycles 2008 income statement of $95,000 but will save more than $30,000 in fuel and over $20,000 in repairs and maintenance in 2009.

According to Executive Director Jill McCutcheon, some markets are already improving.

“From all-time low material prices in November which saw cardboard at zero, markets are beginning to slowly move upward,” McCutcheon said. “Prices are still well below average and are at one-quarter of the all-time high prices of one year ago.”

At present, McCutcheon said the price of cardboard is now at $36 per ton, plastic prices have risen only slightly after dropping to 25 percent of their former price, aluminum has regained 7 cents after falling 60 cents per pound and steel has fully recovered to its price of one year ago.

Glass never fluctuated during the period, a condition McCutcheon attributes to the fact that it’s not processed in China.

Despite having to adjust to straitened conditions, Sedona Recycles determination to educate the public is stronger than ever.

“We encourage everyone to think beyond the bin,” McCutcheon said. “It is not enough to recycle and not know where it is going and what it becomes. We all need to be responsible for the impact and the outcome.”

Buying recycled products is recommended as well.

“Looking into 2009, we’re expanding our no-cost recycling opportunities in Sedona with the aim of increasing the community’s recycling rate and achieving the city’s zero waste goals,” McCutcheon said. “We are also concentrating on fundraising efforts, seeking new members — individuals, families, businesses and corporate. Every level of membership offers free electronics recycling for one year.”

The nonprofit is also expanding its outreach efforts.

First up is a clothing exchange on Saturday, April 25, one week after Earth Day.

“This will be an opportunity for folks to clean out their closets, glean some new duds, and support their local recycling center,” McCutcheon said. “There will be a small admission cost which entitles each person to a chair massage, product samples, and other goodies that the community is donating.”

Sedona Recycles is also hosting a Scrapture Contest.

Local artists will be selected to participate and the proceeds from the Scrapture Auction will come directly to Sedona Recycles.

Taking part in Sedona Recycles educational outreach program are the Sedona Charter School and all three schools in the Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District. “The Recycle Challenge consists of recycling aluminum beverage cans and by doing so, helping to fight litter, saving valuable resources, conserving energy, and earning money,” said Briana Sternberg, Sedona Recycles ‘outreach director.

Each school is provided with containers to recycle their aluminum cans and the money earned from recyclables can be used by the school to purchase materials, pay for field trips, or enhance programs.

“We’re working together to make a better environment for

the next generation,” Sternberg said.

According to James Bishop Jr., president of the Sedona Recycles board of directors, tossing one aluminum can into the trash is the equivalent of throwing away six ounces of gasoline.

“Every single person in Sedona can help us raise funds by bringing their recyclable material to the recycling center on Shelby Drive or to one of our drop-off sites,” said Bishop. “There’s no sense to burying money in landfills these days. The EPA estimates that 75 percent of what Americans throw away could be recycled.”

Sedona Recycles can be reached at 204-1185 or through its Web site at www.sedonarecycles.org.

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