Head out of town on West Third Street and right before the highway intersection is the Alliance Eagles Club. The parking lot is often full whether it is Hamburger Night or a special event, such as the Santa’s Helpers party or maybe a Sunda jamboree.

Next to the dumpster are a small trailer and a translucent bin -- both for recycling. I have been to both of the events mentioned above, however I stop by the Eagles most afternoons to check their recycling. The trailer holds glass bottles while the bin contains cardboard, paperboard and bagged aluminum cans.

Saving these materials has been part of business as usual at the club for some time. The late Bill Heitz was instrumental in starting the practice according to Dick Fankhauser, an Eagles trustee. Heitz would collect cardboard and other items and drop them by the Keep Alliance Beautiful Recycling Center. Now we pick them up on a regular basis.

The Eagles has about 1,100 members at their Alliance aerie, Fankhauser noted. The club has a bar and social room for members that generates most of their recycling. Other events may contribute some cardboard yet Fankhauser said it is more difficult to separate cans, bottles, etc. at a public event or private party.

“We’ve been doing a limited amount (of recycling) for five years,” the trustee explained. “(We have been) working closely with KAB to get containers and trailers to get recyclables in. And we started doing bottles.”

He said the ultimate goal would be to cut their trash output in half, one pickup instead of two. “We’re trying to be more green, that the best way to say it,” Fankhauser commented.

Like other local entities that utilize KAB, Fankhauser wants to keep as much as possible out of the landfill. He knows an employee there and has a new appreciation of how much trash heading out to the site on East Kansas Street could be recycled.

“Not just here but every place” it’s important, he emphasized. “. . . it’s a shame we’re not doing more to keep things out of there (the Alliance landfill) and fill it up so fast. There is a lot of cost in solid waste and even sewage. If we don’t start backing off now who knows where it will lead us to. We’re (the Eagles Club is) not perfect by any means, but we’re trying to take steps in the right direction.”

Fankhauser appreciates the partnership that has developed with KAB. “From a business viewpoint KAB makes it easy to recycle . . . if we had to haul it all down every week it probably wouldn’t get there.”

Though not through KAB, the Eagles have also recently began recycling their used cooking oil through a Scottsbluff food company. He said the club’s investment in recycling so far has not been high. A member donated the trailer for glass.

“We’re feeling fairly good about what we’re recycling percentage-wise,” he said. “. . . as we do it, it gets easier and easier.”

Fankhauser is one of two members responsible for the club’s public relations. He always promotes growth and invites anyone interested to come out and talk to somebody and “we’ll make them a member.” The club donates, on average, about $20,000 a year to local, state and national charitable causes.

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