Keeping green in the black

From left: Raymond Scott and Graham Lawrence separate cardboard at STEPS Inc.'s recycling center in Farmville, Va. As employee-clients of the sheltered workshop, they receive job training, integration into a real-world work environment, and a steady paycheck. Photo: STEPS Inc.

Using prison inmates for grounds and road work is old hat for some public agencies. So why not use inmates as cheap labor to sort recyclables as well?

In Escanaba, Mich., sheltered workshop employee-clients work five-hour shifts at the Delta Solid Waste Management Authority recycling center, separating commingled items such as containers, plastic, and paper. “They're very proud of what they do, and the job is getting done,” says Don Pyle, manager of the authority. Photo: Don Pyle

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