Recyclopedia aims to lighten landfill

To spare items that normally might make their way into the local landfill, a California city is playing waste matchmaker.

In early August, Palo Alto launched an online resource, dubbed the Recyclopedia, to help residents and businesses match unwanted items with organizations interested in reusing or recycling them.

Recyclopedia (www.city.palo-alto.ca.us/recycle/recyclopedia.html), on the Public Works Department's Web site, makes information more accessible. Previously, such matchmaking was done over the telephone, said Annette Puskarich, a recycling coordinator. Phone counselors directed callers by referring to information contained in a manual developed by San Jose State University students at the Center for Development of Recycling.

Now, with the tables and categories presented in the Recyclopedia, residents will discover that:

    * Whole House Building Supply takes bathtubs and other construction materials for low-income housing projects.

    * The Regional Water Quality Control Plant offers $5 coupons toward mercury-free thermometers in exchange for ones that contain mercury.

    * The St. Jude's Ranch for Children is interested in the front panel of greeting cards for resale.

The table lists mostly household items, but some business items, such as printer toner cartridges, are also included.

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