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Dedicated Swap Shop stewards are recycling association's 'Volunteer of the Year'

swap shop volunteers

Recycling Center Swap Shop volunteers, from left, Linda Surabian, Max Rea, Joan Schmitz, Kathy Pinkham, Beth Cary and Carolyn Vetro (photo courtesy Robert Malley)

A very dedicated group of Cape Elizabeth residents who regularly help out at the Recycling Center Swap Shop were recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by the Maine Resource & Recovery Association at its 24th Annual Maine Recycling and Solid Waste Trade Conference & Trade Show April 24, 2017.

The award is presented each year to those who demonstrate a high degree of community volunteerism in the field of solid waste and recycling.

The group was nominated by Robert C. Malley, Director of Public Works (see nomination letter), who accepted the award on their behalf.

"I was extremely pleased that the MRRA staff selected the group for this prestigious award," said Malley. "They provide invaluable assistance to our staff and the Swap Shop program as a whole. The award is well deserved and I was honored to accept it for them," he said.

Here is the text of Malley's nomination letter:

To:        Victor Horton, Executive Director
The Maine Resource Recovery Association

From:   Robert C. Malley, Director of Public Works

Date:    March 10, 2017

Re:        2017 Volunteer of the Year Nomination

  On behalf of the Cape Elizabeth Recycling Committee, I would respectfully request that the Maine Resource Recovery Association consider recognizing a group of dedicated residents who help manage our Swap Shop as “Volunteers of the Year” at the upcoming Maine Recycling and Solid Waste Awards dinner.

  The Town of Cape Elizabeth has operated a building for re-suable items at our Recycling Center since 1993. The program was initiated using a small donated building that started out as a repository for used books. A larger building was constructed in 1995 to divert additional items for reuse such as kitchenware, small appliances, cookware, sporting goods, children’s toys/games and small items of furniture. A substantial amount of goods are diverted from the waste stream each year, saving the Town considerable dollars.

  The “Swap Shop” is a popular feature of the Cape Elizabeth Recycling Center. It has a local following and non-residents often visit the building even though access is restricted to Cape Elizabeth residents. The building was maintained by Public Works and Recycling Center staff for many years. For the last ten years, however, volunteers have taken on a more active role in the daily management of the building. Like the Post Office, they are there rain, sleet or snow throughout the year. They keep items sorted, cull out un-sable items, empty the trash cans and advise visitors of the regulations. They have saved the Town countless staff hours through their efforts over the years and I would miss their presence if they were not there on a regular basis.  

  I could go on at length about the assistance they provide to my department and their dedication to public service. I offer thanks to them on a regular basis, but they are a humble group and usually deflect any outward praise of their efforts. For their dedication, their community spirit and their voluntary efforts, I am proud to nominate them for the MRRA’s “Volunteer of the Year” award.