POTSDAM — The small forest green house-shaped box next to Eben’s Hearth Restaurant, 115 Maple St., has been collecting books from all over the county for years, but recently the book drop box reached a milestone of 100 tons of books recycled.
John Keefe, owner of Textbook Recycle, Saratoga Springs, said the drop box has been around for about five and a half years and usually brings in about 20 tons of books a year.
“It was a hit with the public from day one,” he said. “It started filling up, and it never stopped.”
Mr. Keefe said his recycling company started 11 years ago in Malone, but most of the 12 book drop boxes he’s set up are in the Saratoga area.
“Because Potsdam is a nice little college town, I thought I would go there,” he said.
Bruce T. Clicquennoi, owner of Eben’s Hearth, said Mr. Keefe approached him with the idea to put the book drop box on the restaurant’s property.
“I said ‘Yeah, throw it in there and we’ll see what happens,’” he said.
Mr. Keefe said the drop-off has been a huge success with diverting books from ending up in a landfill.
“I found out that a lot of them end up in the dump, so I thought a bin in the community would help with waste diversion,” he said.
Mr. Keefe said the bin fills up every three weeks and he or one of his employees unloads the books and takes them to be stored in a warehouse in Saratoga.
“We either put them back into circulation or have them made into other paper products,” he said.
Mr. Keefe said he thinks the reason that particular bin has been so successful is because it’s across the street from Clarkson University and because it’s on a major road.
“There’s easy access to it in the parking lot too,” Mr. Clicquennoi said. “Convenience is key.”
Mr. Keefe said he has another book bin in Potsdam located in one of Clarkson’s parking lots off of Pierrepont Avenue that is sponsored by the college’s physical therapy club.
“They get about half as many books as the bin at Eben’s Hearth,” Mr. Keefe said.