The Arc Otsego has announced that Karen Sullivan of the Otsego County Department of Solid Waste and Recycling was awarded the Lifetime Recycling Leadership Award, given each year by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling.
According to a media release, Sullivan “has a long history of working towards making Otsego County more environmentally friendly.” It notes that she initiated a mattress recycling program in the county, taking mattresses from SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and seasonal rentals, and setting up a collection container at the Oneonta transfer station. Once full, the mattresses are transported to Triad Recycling in Buffalo, where they are recycled and kept out of landfills.
Sullivan was also instrumental in the annual hazardous waste collection initiative that has run for more than 20 years, where residents of Otsego County can bring paints, solvents or toxic chemicals to two sites in the county for recycling, the release said.
Pat Knuth, executive director of The Arc Otsego nominated Sullivan for the award. “Karen has been an inspiration to our organization and worked with us tirelessly in starting our ReUse Center in 2017,” Knuth said in the release. “To date, we have recycled and kept from the waste stream over 1.5 million pounds of usable material. This all started from a breakfast with Karen that discussed ways in which we could find employment for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as meet a need for recycling in our community. We also partnered with Karen on a joint grant for a polystyrene densifier, which has densified 10,000 pounds of Styrofoam, keeping it out of landfills.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s award ceremony took place virtually on Nov. 19.