Recycling Waste into Cash

Flying on an airplane has always been a dream of 15-year-old Kelsey LaRoche. This week, she is one step closer to her dream thanks to the excess paper from California-based design firm LPA Inc.

LPA employees present a check to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach with Pro Repro's Tom Kennedy

"We wanted to show how painless the recycling process truly is," said Tom Kennedy, President of Pro Repro a Tustin-based reproduction services provider. "For most businesses all of that paper would have ended up in the trash. LPA though, has always been very green."

Kennedy and LPA Office Manager Laura Nelson presented the LPA recycling monies to LaRoche yesterday with a check for $1,812.46 to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. LaRoche and five other members, will use the money to attend the Boys & Girls Club of America Keystone Conference in Atlanta, Ga. next April.

"This gift brings us one step closer to our goal which is to attend the National Conference," said LaRoche. "For many of us this will be our first time to ride on a plane, visit Georgia, and meet kids from around the country. It's really exciting."

The Pro Repro-LPA recycling effort began three months ago through Pro Repro's Sustainable Reprographic Solutions (SRS) program, launched in 2007. Pro Repro provides the labor, transportation, and drop off of the paper while LPA employees do their part to separate recyclable paper as they go. Although LPA already recycles paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, working with Pro Repro allows the firm to have a say in the usage of the funds and to utilize the resources for philanthropy.

"We have always been very green in our office practices," explains Nelson. "It's fantastic to see the benefits in such a direct manner. These are kids in our own backyard and we're thrilled to help them reach their goals."

As a green design firm, LPA employees practice sustainable lifestyle habits more often than most cubicle dwellers. LPA architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and graphics designers work in a LEED-certified office with daylight for everyone and no private offices. Indoor air quality is carefully monitored and business is conducted via teleconferencing when possible. Printers automatically print double-sided, while employees drink from eco-corn cups and fuel cells produce energy onsite.

"Philanthropy is important to LPA and I wanted to work together with them, because giving back is highly valued in my company as well," continues Kennedy. "The Keystone club in Laguna Beach is for members ages 14 to 18 and there are some promising students coming through. They're really special and showing lots of potential."

Keystone clubs develop leadership in young people and give them the skills to stay focused and avoid life distractions. Officers choose their own activities and plan and implement community service projects. The national three-day conference will give teenagers from around the country the chance to be involved in collaborative workshops and lectures to stimulate and nurture their professional growth.

"We are proud of Kelsey and excited for her future," finishes Nelson. "Pro Repro's service became an opportunity for us to work together to benefit our community. It wasn't just about getting rid of trash, but as a company, we are able to pay it forward to the next generation."

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