The nonprofit animal rescue Big Sky CARES has gotten a grant allowing it to partner with small business to offer some limited recycling services in Folsom for a monthly fee starting at $10 for light use.
The Healthy Communities Grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the state’s primary anti-litter and community improvement organization, provides $5,040 for 2022-23 that will support a partnership between the animal rescue and Lemon Tree Recycling, a small business based in Covington that offers curbside pickup and drop-off recycling services. The partnership designates Big Sky CARES’ low-cost community animal clinic and adoption center at 82060 La. 25 in Folsom as the drop-off center for glass and metal recycling, with services available via monthly subscription.
“Promoting what’s good for people, pets and the planet has always been at the center of Big Sky’s efforts,” said Catherine Wilbert, Big Sky’s founder and CEO. “We already provide access to low-cost animal care, and now, thanks to support from Keep Louisiana Beautiful, we can offer access to recycling to keep building a healthier community.
“Big Sky will serve as a recycling drop-off hub, where families can conveniently access Lemon Tree Recycling services for a small subscription fee. Door-to-door curbside pickup in Folsom is challenging because homes are so far apart, but Big Sky’s location on a major highway makes recycling drop-off a very practical option for families in Folsom, and points beyond, who care about the environment,” said Wilbert.
Lemon Tree co-founder Andrew Ellzey said the new agreement gives the company the chance to serve more customers efficiently, which is the key to sustainability.
“It also inspired us to look at cat litter as a potential end-product for recycled glass, which can be ground down into sand,” Ellzey said. Lemon Tree currently uses sand generated from recycled glass to fill sandbags, which they donate to people living in flood zones to help mitigate flood damage. The company is developing products made from recycled materials that have applications in combating coastal erosion and providing filament for 3D printers.
Monthly subscription fees for dropping off recyclable glass and metals at Big Sky CARES are $10 for light use, up to 20 lbs. monthly; $15 for moderate use, 20-40 lbs.; and $25 for heavy use, 40-60 lbs. monthly.
The 501c3 nonprofit animal rescue organization known to many as Big Sky Ranch/CATNIP Foundation is now Big Sky CARES, and its operation today encompasses two facilities and more than a dozen programs aimed at keeping animals out of shelters. It helps about 3,000 animals annually through rescue programs and low-cost medical care and has about 300-350 animals in their care at any given time. Big Sky Ranch, the original rescue site, is now a sanctuary for aging animals and some with special needs.
Lemon Tree Recycling began in 2020 when three friends set out to solve the problem of so much glass being dumped into landfills. Their research turned up new technology that crushes glass into sand, and within two years, Lemon Tree went from an idea to a full-fledged, self-sustaining business offering curbside pickup and drop-off recycling services for glass and metal.