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Newsroom SRS records managers receive award for being green, saving green

TOPEKA-- Workers at the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Records Center have turned thousands of outdated or unneeded documents into a profit for the agency and in doing so earned the 2011 “Kansas Green Team Continuous Improvement Award” from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. 

In 2010, the Records Center brought in $5,269 by shredding old papers and sending them to be recycled. During the first eight months of 2011, they recycled $5,735 worth of shredded paper. That is quite a difference from when the Records Center had to pay an outside state contractor $1,000 to haul away 400 boxes of old documents in October 2009.

Credit for the remarkable turnaround goes to an industrial Allegheny brand shredder that can destroy up to 100 papers at one time. Previously, the records  center used an older shredder that only consumed three papers at a time, which led to a huge backlog of documents scheduled for destruction. 

Records  technician Jerry Meredith saw the need for a more efficient system, and compiled a spreadsheet demonstrating how the purchase of a faster and stronger shredder could benefit the agency. The new machine arrived in April 2010 at a cost of $18,000, and has earned about $14,000 so far. Meredith estimates it will pay for itself by the middle of 2012.

“We can keep up with the destroy cycle now,” Meredith said. “It’s much more economical to do the shredding ourselves.”

The shredding crew now destroys about  five mail carts of loose shredding per week plus numerous loads of boxes of old records files and takes them by the truckload to the recycling center, which buys the recyclable paper at the going rate. So far this year, the Records Center has recycled 54 tons of shredded documents. 

“This type of ingenuity makes me so proud of our workers. They saw a problem and used creativity to solve it in a way that’s good for the environment and good for the agency,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki. “Congratulations to the Records Center on their Green Team Award.” 

The Records Center also recycles cardboard. In addition, they recirculate rubber bands, binder clips and other office supplies back into the agency. 

The Kansas Green Team  Continuous Improvement Award was awarded jointly to: Jerry Meredith, Sandy Powell, Rick Kesselring, Lalo Ramirez, and Chuck Lake. 

The KDHE announced the Records Center won the award last Friday. The Green Team awards are designed to recognize those who make a difference by incorporating environmentally responsible practice into daily routines at work and at school.

The SRS Records Center is located at 406 SE Jefferson.