May 01, 2008

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Posted May 1, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Keystone Pallet & Recycling and owner Matt Roberts, a 2001 graduate of Bucknell University, received a Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence during a recent Earth Day gala event.

Since the company launched in Milton in 2004, Keystone Pallet & Recycling has prevented more than 1,672,000 pounds of wood waste from being sent to the landfill. Keystone's clients are saving about $8,000 a year in avoided disposal costs. The company's wood pallet collection system reduced annual diesel fuel consumption by 2,600 gallons, saving $7,200 a year in fuel costs and preventing 330 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In announcing the 2008 recipients, Gov. Edward G. Rendell acknowledged that Keystone and the eight other awardees "look at environmental challenges as opportunities to do things differently. ... These awards recognize and celebrate that unique perspective and can-do spirit that makes Pennsylvania a progressive place to do business." Kathleen A. McGinty, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), delivered the event's keynote speech on April 22.

Bucknell SBDC assistance
Pallet recyclers keep wood pallets out of the landfill by collecting, repairing and reselling used pallets. After a brief stint working with a pallet recycler in Ohio, Keystone owner Roberts brought the concept back to Pennsylvania and approached the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance.

SBDC business consultants helped Roberts create a comprehensive business plan and referred him to the SBDC's Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP), where consultant Denise Bechdel offered advice on environmental compliance and suggested applying for a Small Business Advantage grant from the Pennsylvania DEP. With Bechdel's assistance, Keystone Pallet & Recycling applied for and received four successive grants – a total of $29,850.

On-site mobile collection units
A challenge for recycling businesses is to find and maintain a steady source of materials. Usually, this involves driving to collect the materials, increasing fuel costs coupled with long travel distances. Keystone devised a way to collect more used pallets by installing on-site mobile collection units at its larger sites, which are picked up only when full. Roberts used his nearly $30,000 in grant funds to assist with the purchase of several 53-foot portable recycling collection units as well as a larger truck, reducing the number of trips to smaller collection sites. These investments have resulted in significant decreases in miles traveled, diesel fuel consumption and associated fuel and maintenance costs.

Roberts acknowledges the assistance of the SBDC's environmental program in starting and obtaining funding for his business, saying, "the Environmental Management Assistance Program has been a vital tool used during the start up of my business. ... Overall, EMAP has provided my business with an invaluable service, which I will continue to use in the future."

EMAP Director Christopher Lynch applauded Keystone Pallet & Recycling for its exceptional accomplishments and recognized all 2007-08 grantees for their efforts. "Matt Roberts and these other small business owners are proving that small businesses are big players in making the business case for energy efficiency and going green. Their achievements also underscore the urgent need to continue financial and technical assistance programs that help small business owners find and take advantage of opportunities to both reduce operating costs and environmental impacts."

For more information about Keystone Pallet & Recycling, visit For more on the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers' services and impact, visit

Contact: Division of Communications


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