COUNCIL BLUFFS - Recycling is important, but, if an item can be reused, prolonging its life, that’s even better.

Case in point – 108 cases, to be exact – came Tuesday. That’s the number of cases of trays and lids donated to help feed those at MOHM’s Place, which serves meals to local residents in need.

The cases, sent to the locally owned Larsen Supply Co., had lids that didn’t fit onto the trays. The Council Bluffs Recycling Center was notified for possible recycling, according to Shannon Meister, the center’s education coordinator, because the trays were composed of recyclable plastics No. 1 and No. 5.

“It’s a shame to let good containers go to waste, so we decided to see if they could be reused,” she said.

Recycling Center Supervisor Tony Fiala notified MOHM's Place and representatives said the trays and lids would be useful for what they needed, despite the imperfections, said Brandy Wallar, clinical director for the New Visions Center.

MOHM’s Place, one of three service programs at New Visions, now serves about 9,000 meals monthly, according to its founder, the Rev. Harry Wallar. Adjacent to it is a 62-bed men’s shelter, though 100 or so usually sleep there nightly with floor mats used for the overflow. A 26-unit transitional house for men and women is also on the grounds.

The 108 cases donated had 252 pieces per case, about 27,000 total pieces of plastics – weighing nearly 1,500 pounds.

“That’s a little more than one normal-sized plastic bale,” Meister said.

These trays will serve meals among other uses, Brandy Wallar said. The donation will also be a “huge cost savings,” reducing the need for MOHM’s Place to buy paper products over the next few months.

Reusable items can have a longer life instead of recycling them immediately, according to Meister.

“Reuse is a higher use than recycling, so we try to do that as we can,” she said.

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