EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 13, 2008

Price of paper fuels Scout effort in Sandown

SANDOWN - As a few dozen preteens tossed paper and cardboard into a giant, open-topped Dumpster yesterday, the den leaders of Cub Scout Pack 268 stood back and realized they'd found themselves an excellent fundraiser.

"If it goes well, we might do it again," den leader Erin Magoon said.

Cub Scout Pack 268 was collecting paper and cardboard to be recycled. They'd saved up recyclables themselves, and they were taking old boxes and even telephone books from Sandown residents.

The group expects to raise about $600 from the one-day event, and Scouts will be eligible for the conservation badge afterward.

Just a few years ago, a fundraiser like this paper drive wouldn't have been very useful.

"The prices (for paper) have gone through the roof," said Donal Maurer, the solid waste supervisor at the state Department of Environmental Services.

It's no accident that many community groups have been holding more paper and cardboard drives in recent years. The prices recycling companies offer for paper or cardboard has more than doubled in the last two years, Maurer said.

Today, used cardboard sells for about $120 a ton, Maurer said. Only a few years ago, it was around $50 a ton.

In the case of Pack 268, Cub Scout Anthony Rullo's father, Carl, happened to own a recycling company - Great Rate.

Carl Rullo offered a Dumpster to hold the paper and cardboard free of charge. He even offered to haul the recyclables away at the end of the paper drive.

"He suggested (the fundraiser) because the paper is selling at a very high rate now," den leader Chuck Dolan said of Rullo.

Even for groups that can't get a deal like that, paper drives are becoming a good way to make money.

"The markets have been really strong since, oh, probably since February of last year," said Ed Inferrere, director of business development for Corcoran Environmental Services, a recycling company with offices in Manchester.

While Inferrere's company deals mostly with cities, towns and large corporations, he has seen an up-tic in the number of community groups approaching him with small amounts of paper or cardboard.

Community paper drives wouldn't have been worth their time or his only a few years ago, Inferrere said. But in recent years, demand for cardboard and paper from China and the rest of Asia has driven prices up throughout the world market.

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