NEW PHILADELPHIA — Apparently, if you offer to shred it free, they will come — in droves.
“I just can’t believe the turnout. It’s by far the biggest of the shredding events we’ve done,” said Shannon Burton, owner and general manager of Go Shred Secure Document Destruction LLC of Dennison. “We had about 75 cars at Bolivar in the previous largest event of the eight we’ve done before today.”
About 200 vehicles went through the drive-through format as New Philadelphia and Go Shred offered the free shredding service for paper items, such as old tax records or medical records, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in Tuscora Park.
When the company arrived with two trucks about 8:15 a.m., there were already 10 cars lined up on Al Maloney Drive. For more than an hour, the line stretched from near the football practice field back to Tuscora Avenue NW.
By day’s end, about 17,500 pounds of paper — 8.75 tons — was shredded on site. About 696 boxes of paper, the recycling effort saved 149 trees and 875 cubic yards of landfill space.
“This is absolutely an awesome event,” Terry Cook, of New Philadelphia, said while six cardboard boxes and a sack full of paper were unloaded from the back of his vehicle.
“We’ve been looking forward to this,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful event and very helpful.”
He said the paperwork simply built up over time. One document storage box was marked 1997, 1998.
“Some of it might even go back more than that,” he said. “They’re just not all marked.”
“Ever since we received the notice in the mail, my wife’s had it hanging on the refrigerator as a reminder that we could get rid of all this,” Cook said of the notice included with the city’s water bills.
Burton said traffic was steady throughout the day after the initial crush.
“We’ve had a few people bring a truckload, everyone else has brought about two or three boxes each,” she said. “Some people just showed up with a tiny bag. It’s been a nice variety. A lot of people were happy. We believe that it’s the shredding event for New Philadelphia. People were very thankful because now they don’t have to worry about what to do with their documents.”
Most items people brought to the event were in cardboard boxes, and Go Shred personnel dumped the contents into a 65-gallon container, which can hold about 160 pounds of paper. A rail-link conveyor system on the side of the truck lifted the container, which then dumped into the shredding and pulverizer mechanism in the truck. Each truck’s storage capacity is about 10,000 pounds.
“We filled the first truck in about an hour and 15 minutes this morning,” said Mike Burton, shredding technician.
He said Mayor Michael Taylor “wanted us to bring both trucks, expecting a big turnout, and he was definitely correct. It’s been a phenomenal turnout. Everything has gone great, no hiccups at all. There was a line, but we moved them through as fast as we could. I didn’t hear any complaints.”
Mike Burton explained that the process rips up the paper, which “immediately gets mixed together, and it would be all but impossible to try to put anything back together, and when we dump it together at our facility, it gets mixed even more.”
The paper is then compressed into about 750-pound rectangle bales. When about 50 to 60 bales are available at one time, a tractor-trailer rig from a recycling company comes to haul the load to paper mills.
“It’s whoever needs recycled paper,” Mike Burton said. “One of the biggest uses is to make toilet paper. It’s also used to make tissues or other paper products, or school folders — any items that you see the little recycled symbol on.”
He said much of it goes to Kimberly-Clark, which makes health and hygiene products, with brands such as Kleenex, Scott and Huggies.
Shannon Burton said Mayor Taylor contacted Go Shred “and we donated our services free of charge to provide this wonderful environmental, secure event for the city of New Philadelphia.”
The totals are reported to the Stark-Tuscarwas-Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District to help document the city’s recycling efforts.
“We’re a locally owned and operated shredding business, and our facility is here in Tuscarawas County, so we do whatever we can by donating our services and our time to any charities or organizations that we can,” she said.
The city displayed its truck used to gather recyclable items. Residents could sign up Saturday to participate in the weekly curbside recycling program, and about 25 did so and received a collection bin, Taylor said.
“We also took the cardboard boxes for recycling,” Taylor said. “A lot of people thanked us. They had all these items accumulate for years, and this gave them a safe way to get rid of them.
“This overwhelming response shows that people were really interested, and we’ll certainly consider doing this again in the future. We were glad for the opportunity to provide an event for our citizens at no cost to those participating and no charge to the city from Go Shred.”