Christie Lane Industries spawns 'green' businesses

Christie Lane Industries (CLI) is an unusual type of nonprofit organization. That is due only partly to its mission of increasing the income and status of Huron County residents with developmental disabilities. Under the enthusiastic leadership of Director John Schwartz, CLI has launched a number of "green" businesses, including document destruction, recycling and tile making.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Christie Lane Industries (CLI) is an unusual type of nonprofit organization. That is due only partly to its mission of increasing the income and status of Huron County residents with developmental disabilities.

Under the enthusiastic leadership of Director John Schwartz, CLI has launched a number of "green" businesses, including document destruction, recycling and tile making.

CLI Document Destruction recycled more than 125 tons of office paper in 2007. On average, the program shreds 42,000 pounds of paper each month.

This environmentally friendly service ensures customer privacy through the provision of locked storage containers which are picked up by CLI as needed.

CLI's shredding system is operated by a crew of 14 clients and staff which performs the National Association for Information Destruction accredited duties associated with document destruction.

The staff is responsible for picking up the discarded papers, loading and feeding the documents into a shredder, bailing the shredded information and loading it onto trailers to be sent to a paper mill.

Another green program of Christie Lane's is community recycling, which recycled more than 250 tons of cardboard, newsprint, No. 1 plastic, No. 2 plastic, and polyethylene boat wrap in 2007.

CLI provides collection bins to a variety of area businesses, schools and nursing homes. Products that can be recycled include 2-liter, 1-liter and 20-ounce pop bottles, as well as plastic water bottles.

After CLI sorts, cleans and de-labels the plastic bottles, they are sold to TerraCycle, a producer of an organic plant food line which is created solely from worm excrement.

Once the worms produce their own waste, it is liquefied and packaged by TerraCycle into the bottles obtained from CLI.

The cardboard collected by CLI is compacted, baled and sent to a recycling facility. CLI averages one truckload of cardboard per month, which is 40,000 pounds of compacted cardboard that otherwise would have been landfilled.

Christie Lane currently partners with 32 area businesses and schools in the community to obtain recycled products. Any profits brought in by CLI's recycling efforts go back directly to the individuals employed by Christie Lane Industries, thereby keeping the money within the community.

Most recently, Schwartz has worked with Artists' Open Studio to create CLI Tile, which produces glass art tile and stoneware products. Options include a 20-percent recycled glass tile and a 100-percent recycled glass tile.

In keeping with their commitment to saving the earth, both Christie Lane School and Industries internally recycle all paper, cardboard, magazines, newsprint, steel, aluminum, No. 1 plastic, No. 2 plastic, PVC and vinyl waste generated by their operations.

Christie Lane Industries welcomes the public to tour its facilities at 306 S. Norwalk Road in Norwalk from noon to 3 p.m. Friday. For additional questions, contact Bethany Dentler, Norwalk Economic Development Corp., at (419) 668-9858.