Taking Back the ‘Take Back’ Law?

  • 19 states have passed ‘take back’ laws that require manufacturers to take back old electronics and pay to recycle them. But manufacturers are challenging these laws. (Photo source: dirkj at Wikimedia Commons)

The City of New York is being sued
by the electronics industry. Samara
Freemark reports it’s over recycling
electronic waste, such as cell phones
and computers:

Transcript

The city of New York is being sued by the electronics industry. Samara Freemark reports it’s over recycling electronic waste such as cell phones and computers:

Electronic waste contains all sorts of hazardous chemicals, but safely recycling it is expensive.

So 19 states have passed ‘take back’ laws that require manufacturers to take back old electronics and pay to recycle them.

Now manufacturers are challenging these laws. Two industry groups have sued New York City. They want the city’s take back law overturned.

Kate Sinding is a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. That group has joined New York in the suit. She says a decision in the case could have consequences beyond electronics take backs.

“There are a lot of deeper questions that are raised by the lawsuit, including issues of corporate responsibility. If somebody’s going to produce something that has toxic components, what is their ongoing responsibility to deal with that, even after it’s sold into the market?”

The court will decide that next year.

For The Environment Report, I’m Samara Freemark.

Related Links

Getting Paid to Recycle

  • If you don't recycle, the bin can make a handy shelf. Cities are trying to get people who don't recycle much or at all... to get into the habit by offering them incentives.

Recycling can have some economic benefits. But as a country, we’re
just not doing that much of it. The US Environmental Protection
Agency says the national recycling rate has been hovering around 30%
for several years now. Rebecca Williams reports some cities
are trying to get people to recycle more… by paying them to recycle:

Transcript

Recycling can have some economic benefits. But as a country, we’re
just not doing that much of it. The US Environmental Protection
Agency says the national recycling rate has been hovering around 30%
for several years now. Rebecca Williams reports some cities
are trying to get people to recycle more… by paying them to recycle:


It’s not easy getting someone to admit they don’t recycle. But I was
over at my friend Andrea’s house for dinner, and she confessed.


(Sound of Andrea opening a can of beans)


“Normally I would take this can and throw it away in the garbage and
never look at it again. I don’t really like cleaning garbage to throw
it away.”


Now in her defense, she doesn’t really produce that much trash to begin
with. Maybe just one small bag a week.


Andrea says it just feels like too much work to recycle. Taking the
labels off, cleaning out the cans, walking down four flights of stairs.
Though they’re indoors and carpeted.


(Sound of garage door opening)


Right now she’s using her recycle bin as a shelf. She’s got some books
and a quart of oil sitting on it.


If Andrea did recycle, she’d have to drag her bin out to the curb from
the garage. About oh, three feet or so.


“In the mornings I run pretty late so just taking the garbage out and
lugging it down the stairs along with my bags for work is quite a hassle in
and of itself and I’m proud of myself for doing that, so… (laughs).”


Now… my friend can’t be the only one out there who doesn’t recycle.
A recent survey found that 28 states reported a decrease in their
recycling rates since 2001.


That’s not good news for cities, because cities can benefit from
recycling. If they can divert enough recyclables from the waste
stream, they can avoid some of the high costs of disposing waste in
landfills.


But even if you have trucks that drive around and pick up people’s cans
and newspapers from their curbs, there’s no guarantee they’ll put them
out there for you.


Unless, of course, you offer them a reward.


Some cities on the East Coast are paying people to recycle. They’re
using a company called RecycleBank.


With RecycleBank, you get a recycling container with a tracking chip
embedded in it. You can toss all your cans and newspapers and bottles
into that one container… so, none of that annoying sorting.


Ron Gonen is the company’s co-founder.


“There’s a mechanical arm on the truck that picks up your container,
reads the chip, identifies that your household recycled and how much
your household recycled. The amount that your household recycled is
translated into RecycleBank dollars.”


Those RecycleBank dollars can be cashed in as coupons to shop at more
than 300 stores.


“We really look at it from the lens of the recycling industry and that if
your household recycles you’re actually creating value, and some of
that value should be passed back to you.”


Gonen says each family can earn up to $400 a year. He says people are
so into it, they’re even bringing stuff from work to recycle at home.
And he says recycling rates have tripled or even quadrupled in
neighborhoods using RecycleBank.


But some cities have found incentives only work up to a point. So
they’re making it against the law not to recycle. Seattle, for
example, won’t pick up your trash if there’s stuff in it that could be
recycled.


Timothy Croll is Seattle’s Solid Waste Director. He says trash
collectors aren’t going through trash cans, but they are peeking in.


“It’s not like we’re taking these things into an MRI or anything like
that it’s just what the garbage collector can see at the top when they
open the lid.”


Croll says the law works. He says only a few trash cans have been left
behind with a note. And Seattle did try incentives first. The city
charges residents less for trash collection if they use a teeny little
trash can and recycle a lot more. Croll says that’s been pretty
successful. But he says the city wanted to push for even more
recycling… so, they made it a law.


“Some tools work better for some people than others. For some people
it might be they know it’s the right thing to do, but their lives are
busy, and unless you give them one more reason they’re just not going
to get over that threshold and do it. It’s like yeah I know, I know I
should floss too, you know?”


Croll says it’s up to cities to first make recycling convenient… And
then try sweetening the deal.


You know, my non-recycling friend DOES recycle her soda cans. She
lives in Michigan, so she gets 10 cents back for each one. It’s enough
of an incentive that she’s saving bags of cans at work and stashing
cans in every corner under her kitchen sink.


For the Environment Report, I’m Rebecca Williams.

Related Links

New Life for Old Running Shoes

Runners often wonder what to do with their shoes once the treads have worn too low to give enough foot support. People who have donated old shoes to charities or thrown them away have a new option now… a “sneaker recycling program.” As part of an ongoing series called “Your Choice; Your Planet,” the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Skye Rohde reports:

Transcript

Runners often wonder what to do with their shoes once the treads have worn too low to
give enough foot support. People who have donated old shoes to charities or thrown
them away have a new option now… a “sneaker recycling program.” As part of an
ongoing series called, “Your Choice; Your Planet,” the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Skye Rohde reports:


David Lupinski wants old running shoes, no matter how smelly they are. They just need
to be clean.


Lupinski is the recycling director at the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management
authority in Utica, in upstate New York. He’s collecting used athletic shoes as part of the
Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program.


Now, this got my attention. I’ve been running for 11 years. I’m a one-pair-a-year girl.
I’ve sent way too many worn-out shoes to the Salvation Army… just because I didn’t
know what else to do with them. I wanted to find out what this is all about.


Nike picks up the shoes from participants like Lupinski and sends them to a facility in
Oregon where they’re ground up. David Lupinski explains it best.


“The upper area, that’s material that is more cloth and things like that. And that’s what
they make into padding for carpeting. The middle sole has a little bit more plastic, a little
bit more rubber in it. They grind that up and they make it into a material that they use for
things like tennis courts, basketball courts. The bottom of the sneaker or athletic shoe is
pretty much all rubber. They grind that up and they actually make a product that they call
“Nike grind.” And that material is what they use for tracks. It’s nice and soft and
pliable.”


The shoe program is a good fit for Utica. That’s because of the city’s ties to running. The
National Distance Running Hall of Fame is located here, and the country’s biggest 15-
kilometer road race – the Boilermaker – is held here every July.


But Utica is not alone. There are 33 organizations from 20 states participating in Reuse-
A-Shoe. Each of them is expected to collect at least 5,000 pairs of shoes this year.


This all started in 1993, when a couple of Nike employees asked if there was anything
they could do with defective shoes instead of throwing them out.


Nike joined up with the National Recycling Coalition in 2002 to expand the program to
all 50 states. Kate Krebs is Executive Director of the coalition.


“I liked it for a number of reasons. It was a company that was taking back their product
at its end of life and turning it into something that was really productive and really cool.”


Krebs has helped almost 60 organizations try to team up with Nike, and there’s already a
waiting list to participate. She says the participants are creative about collecting shoes
too.


“We just had a girl scout troop in Los Angeles on Earth Day collect more than 5,000
pairs of shoes in one day. Some zoos have set it up. Some marathons have set up
collection. Junior high/high school track programs are collecting. So everyone’s doing it
a little different… and that’s the part that’s so magic about it.”


Back in Utica, Dorothy Cornell is dropping off a few pairs of shoes at the National
Distance Running Hall of Fame.


“I just put in three sneakers that I found in my basement that are no good to me or my
family. And they’re doing a recycling here, so we’re bringing them down here. It’s, you
know, a great idea. I wish more people would, you know, be aware of it.”


(ambient sound)


A little later, the Solid Waste Management Authority’s David Lupinski peers inside the
donation box at the Hall of Fame.


(rustling sound… “Geez, this is a bag of athletic shoes…”)


He finds six pairs of shoes, including two fluorescent orange track shoes that are almost
brand new. He says he picks up about 40 pairs of shoes a week from this box. There are
seven other donation boxes around the area.


Lupinski has almost 800 pairs of shoes now, but he still has a long way to go before he
gets his 5,000 pairs and Nike sends a truck to pick them up. People have called him from
across upstate New York to see how they can get their old shoes to him.


Reuse-A-Shoe participants are all hoping for lots of shoes. But they also want to spread
the word and get people as excited as they are about giving old shoes new life.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Skye Rohde.

Related Links

Converting Garbage Into Ethanol

A company in the Great Lakes region wants to convert trash into fuel. You might have heard of plants that burn garbage to create energy. But this plant is different. This plant would convert organic trash into ethanol. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Grant reports:

Transcript

A company in the Great Lakes region wants to convert trash into fuel. You might have
heard of plants that burn garbage to create energy. But this plant is different. This plant
would convert organic trash into ethanol. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie
Grant reports:


The walls of Genahol, Inc., are covered with pictures of Donald Bogner’s wife and
children. Bogner is a ruddy-looking man with a friendly attitude. He’s the kind of guy
who likes to get things done. He started Genahol seven years ago, with the idea that he
could turn paper, leaves, and grass clippings into fuel.


“The green waste is such a problem, because, what do you do with it? Well, you chop it
up, you mix manure with it, you package it, and sooner or later you finally say, hey, I
can’t sell this stuff.”


Bogner says Genahol can make fuel out nearly any plant material. A lot of green waste
winds up in landfills. But Bogner patented a new kind of process. It converts green and
paper waste to sugar, distills the sugar into alcohol and transforms the alcohol into
ethanol. Until now, ethanol has usually been made from corn or other grains. Bogner
says they’ve been surprised by how many products they can re-use to make ethanol.
Anything from stale beer, to old perfume, or factory-rejected candy…


“You just can’t imagine the volume when you start talking about Christmas candy canes.
And a bad batch of candy canes may be three million candy canes that a producer has to
destroy because they came out wrong in a batch or whatever. So, you know, three
million candy canes (laughs).”


If a Genahol facility is built, Bogner says it could convert anywhere from one hundred to
one-thousand tons of waste per day and make up to three million gallons of ethanol a
year. As long as the selling price of ethanol remains over a dollar a gallon, Bogner says
Genahol can make money. But he needs a deal. He needs a city that’s willing to let him
sort through the trash. It should be an easy sell, he says, because cities could save landfill
space and get a cut of the profits from ethanol sales.


“The hardest sell right now is that we cannot right now take them to a facility and show
them ethanol coming out of a spigot.”


And that’s the problem not only with Genahol, but with other companies that want to
convert waste to ethanol. Their ideas are theoretical. But Bogner says things are about to
change for Genahol. He’s negotiating a contract with the Solid Waste Authority of
Central Ohio, known as SWACO. It is in charge of trash in Columbus and owns one of
the largest public landfills in the country. Executive Director Mike Long is interested in
Bogner’s ideas.


“We are always looking for new methods, cost effective methods to reduce, reuse and
recycle the waste stream to reduce reliance on landfills. That is our primary purpose at
SWACO, to reduce reliance on landfills.”


SWACO already diverts yard wastes and paper from the trash stream, but there hasn’t
been much of a market for those products. That’s why Long says contracting with
Genahol makes sense.


“It’s being approached on, I think, a very conservative point of view, small scale pilot
project. Trying to minimize the risk to SWACO and the public from a financial point of
view.”


It might be a bit of a risk. SWACO and other trash managers got burned in the mid-
1990s by waste-to-energy facilities. Some plants were forced to close because they
emitted too much pollution. Genahol’s Don Bogner says the only emissions from his
plant will be carbon dioxide, which he plans to capture and sell for industrial use.
Bogner and SWACO are negotiating one of the first deals in the nation for a trash-to-
ethanol plant. Many entrepreneurs trying to sell similar ideas are having a tough time
making a deal. Monte Shaw, an ethanol industry spokesperson, says these companies
should hang on a little longer.


“It’s always harder to be first. It’s always harder to convince investors, and banks, and
government agencies, that this is going to work. ”


The government is considering tax breaks and financial assistance to encourage new
ethanol plants. One reason the government is interested is to cut dependence on foreign
oil. Another reason, is ethanol is a good replacement for MTBE in gasoline. MTBE has
been used to reduce ozone pollution, but the chemical has contaminated water supplies
and the government wants to phase it out. Don Bogner expects the move from MTBE to
increase demand for ethanol. He’s wondering if that means Genahol will be able to turn a
profit.


“That’s what my wife asks me, are we going to make money this year?”


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Julie Grant in Kent.

CONVERTING GARBAGE INTO ETHANOL (Short Version)

A company in the Great Lakes region wants to convert trash into fuel. This could be one of the first plants in the nation to convert organic trash into ethanol. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Grant reports:

Transcript

A company in the Great Lakes region wants to convert trash into fuel. This could be one
of the first plants in the nation to convert organic trash into ethanol. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Julie Grant reports:


The president of Genahol, Inc., says his facilities can make fuel out of nearly any plant
material. A lot of paper, leaves, and grass clippings wind up in landfills. But Donald
Bogner patented a new kind of process. It converts green waste to sugar, distills the
sugar into alcohol and transforms the alcohol into ethanol. Ethanol is usually made from
corn or other grains. Bogner says Genahol reuses other people’s trash.


“Genahol actually receives payment for its materials. Rather than going out and having
to pay a dollar fifty to two fifty a bushel for corn or something, we actually get paid on a
tonnage basis. So it can be very, very profitable.”


No Genahol facility has yet been built. Bogner and the Solid Waste Authority of Central
Ohio are negotiating one of the first deals in the nation for a trash-to-ethanol plant.


For
the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Julie Grant in Kent.

State to Ban Mercury Thermometers?

Michigan could become the next Great Lakes state to ban the sale of mercury thermometers. Environmentalists are praising the legislation, but say more needs to be done to curb the threat of mercury pollution. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:

Transcript

Michigan could become the next Great Lakes state to ban the sale of
mercury thermometers. Environmentalists are praising the legislation,
but say more needs to be done to curb the threat of mercury pollution.
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:


A bill on its way to Governor John Engler would make Michigan the third
Great Lakes state to ban the sale of Mercury thermometers. Indiana and
Minnesota also have bans in place. Jeff Gearhart is with the Ecology
Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He says in 2000, mercury from
thermometers made up 10-percent of mercury in the state’s solid waste
system. But Gearhart says there are many more sources of mercury
pollution that still need to be addressed, such as appliances and
automobiles.


“It is our hope that this would be the first step toward the state
aggressively going after phasing out mercury use in all products and
addressing how to manage and recover mercury that is already out there
in commerce.”


Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would
effectively ban the sale of mercury thermometers nationwide. The
measure now awaits action in the House Committee on Energy and
Commerce.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.

The Economics of Recycling

More and more Americans have been taking recycling seriously over the last two decades. So much so that today, the EPA says about 30% of the trash Americans produce in their homes is recycled. And the recycling rate for most Midwest states is near that average, but while the agency expects that number to continue to rise, not everyone thinks more recycling is better for the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Brodie takes a look at the economics of recycling:

Transcript

More and more Americans have been taking recycling seriously over the last two decades. So much so that today, the EPA says about 30 percent of the trash Americans produce in their homes is recycled. And the recycling rate for most Great Lakes states is near that average. But while the agency expects that number to continue to rise, not everyone thinks more recycling is better for the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Brodie takes a look at the economics of recycling.

A small bulldozer collects materials that have sprawled out across the floor of this recycling center…. it then pushes the mound up against a wall. The glass and plastic pile up almost to the ceiling of the building … some ten feet in the air. Welcome to the tipping floor, where workers collect and sort recyclables from the Albany, New York area. Joe Gieblehaus is the solid waste manager for the city. He says Albany officials hope to recycle between 30 and 35 percent of the city’s waste…

“The 30 to 35 gives us I guess the best bang for our buck, basically, recycling is a situation of declining marginal returns. If we try to go after another product in the waste stream, it just costs us more money, and more money, and more money and more money. 30 to 35 seems to give us an economic benefit, the best economic benefit available.”


Albany’s recycling target is similar to that put out by the EPA… and is about the limit that one former EPA assistant administrator says is necessary. Doctor J. Winston Porter was instrumental in starting curbside recycling in the United States in the 1980’s…. but now he says people are taking a good thing too far.

“The last few years, I’ve been somewhat concerned that people are, if anything, aiming too high. You know, I set a 25% goal and there’s nothing wrong with going to 30 or 35 or 40% if you can. But I think many states have set goals of like 50% and I think what we’re doing, we’re getting into an area that’s very non-cost effective and may even hurt the environment because you’re in effect trying to use too much energy and too much processing to recycle too much trash.”


One of those states that’s right about at porter’s limit is Wisconsin. Greg Swanson of the state’s department of natural resources says Wisconsin recycles about 40 percent of its waste. He says the state’s laws call for beneficial re-use. That means the state does not want to spend more energy recycling something than it took to make it in the first place. Swanson says that makes decisions about what to recycle and what not to recycle a little easier.

“You’d like to be able to recycle everything that’s recyclable, but you have to keep in mind the political and economic realities of being able to actually do something with it once you collect it.”


Swanson says that end result is crucial for recycling programs to survive. He says Wisconsin has budgeted more than 24 million dollars for recycling programs this year. That money goes to pay for trucks, drivers, and people who sort the recyclables, among other things. If a state or city recycles something, it has to be able to sell it. If the costs of recycling are higher than the profits from selling the materials, the city or state loses money on the deal. But not everybody believes more recycling hurts the economy. Will Ferrety is the executive director of the national recycling coalition. He says the more Americans recycle, the better it is for both the environment…. and the economy.

“At its fundamental basis, recycling is helping us eliminate the notion of waste because if we can turn what would otherwise be a discarded product into a useful product, we’re making for a more efficient system.”


Ferrety says states should try and recycle as much as possible. He says it’s preferable to many of the alternatives.

“When you look at that entire system, and compare that to what I would call a one-way system where we extract resources, make a new product, use them up, and simply throw them away in a landfill, hands down, there’s less energy used, there’s fewer air pollutants, there’s fewer water pollutants that result from that recycling system when compared to that one way system.”


Among Great Lakes states, Minnesota and New York have the highest recycling rates…at more than 40 percent each of their total waste. The EPA says other Great Lakes states recycle between 20 and 29 percent. Albany, New York’s Joe Gieblehaus says even though many officials on the state and local level would like to recycle more…. the green of the environment sometimes has to take a back seat to the green in the wallet. He says the market drives decisions about whether or not to recycle something. He says the city can only recycle materials that can then be sold to offset the cost of collecting them in the first place.

“There are so few end uses to close the loop; it’s hard for us at the beginning of the loop to find a market for this material…a sustainable market for this material.”


Gieblehaus says his trucks collect about 13 thousand tons of recycled materials a year. He says that’s just enough to help keep the environment green…. without putting the city into the red. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mark Brodie.

Cleaning Up the Dumping Grounds

  • Residents in many states find that large appliances are not allowed in landfills. It's hard to get anyone to pick up things like tires, old washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

People have been secretly dumping old appliances almost as long as companies have made them. Too often, clean-up crews find old stoves, water heaters, and even refrigerators that people have thrown away improperly. Even the threat of big fines has not stopped the practice. So now, some Great Lakes states are beginning to set up programs to accept the old appliances. They’ve found it’s more effective than having to pick them up out of roadside ditches. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:

Transcript

People have been secretly dumping old appliances almost as long as companies have made them. Too often, clean-up crews find old stoves, water heaters, and even refrigerators that people have thrown away improperly. Even the threat of big fines has not stopped the practice. So now, some Great Lakes states are beginning to set up programs to accept the old appliances. They’ve found it’s more effective than having to pick them up out of roadside ditches. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports.


It might be against the law to dump an old refrigerator or washing machine, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people each year from doing just that. And the reasons are simple, it’s hard to find a place that will take them, and those that do take them often charge a fee.


It got to be more of a problem in the 1980’s. Several states banned large appliances from landfills because they took up too much space. So, homeowners were left to their own devices to get rid of them. Then at about the same time, an increase in cheap imported steel forced down the price being paid for scrap metal. So anymore, fewer scavengers are making fewer rounds to pick up old appliances. That’s because much of the time, it just doesn’t pay. But, the few times when prices do get high enough, some of the scavengers will even pull appliances out of illegal dumping grounds to cart off and sell to steel recyclers. Greg Crawford is with the Steel Recycling Institute. He says the scrap metal market can have a great affect on where old appliances end up.


“That happens routinely year in and year out as the prices cyclically go up and down. And it is money. It is the scrap value of the iron and steel in the appliances that encourages the peddler trade to make these collection runs and then bring the appliances back into the scrap dealers.”


Besides looking horrible, dumping can also damage the environment. Many old appliances such as refrigerators, deep freezes and air conditioners contain coolant gases such as CFC’s that damage the ozone layer. If those gases aren’t captured, they’ll eventually leak out of the appliances. That’s why some governments are trying to come up with new ways to the problem of appliance disposal. Arley Owens is with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He says Ohio is helping to lead an effort to make sure unwanted appliances are disposed of properly.


“We basically had to ask the question ‘Do you want to collect the appliances that people may illegally dump?’ Because in some cases when you don’t have enough money in your budget to buy food or to make ends meet for that particular month, there’s no way you’re going to take an appliance half-way across the county and then be charged a fee for the drop off and then the evacuation of the CFCs, which could run as much as anywhere from 30 to 40 to 75 dollars depending on the location.”


In Ohio, Owens says, each year the state gives each county’s solid waste management district a thousand dollars to publicize a drop-off period in the spring. Then, working with steel recyclers, they remove the CFC’s and send those old appliances to Ohio’s steel mills to be melted down for new products. But, most states don’t have such a program. In some cases, appliance stores will dispose of the old equipment for little or no cost when they deliver a new replacement. But, many of the large retail chains don’t. So those customers are on their own.


Some solid waste experts say that should change. Dana Duxbury-Fox has been a consultant on solid waste issues. She says someone should be responsible for making sure every big appliance will be recycled properly.


“And in my ideal world the manufacturer has that responsibility. If they made it –and particularly with products that have hazardous constituents– if they put those into the marketplace, they should be responsible for keeping it out of it.”


She suggests there should be a deposit on appliances, or a fixed cost included in the price that would pay for recycling services at the end of the life of the appliance. But those kinds of programs are hard to sell to lawmakers. That’s because despite the very real problem o illegal dumping. Big appliances are already being recycled at a higher rate than most steel products. In fact, according to the steel recycling institute, the recycling rate for big appliances increased from forty-one percent in 1990 to eighty-four percent last year. But still that leaves the question of where sixteen out of every hundred appliances end up. Greg Crawford with the Steel Recycling Institute says adding a fee or deposit probably wouldn’t be helpful.


“It would have the effect, really, of being a very expensive add on system that would perhaps get the incremental appliances, but it would be at a very high cost. It would not be the same efficient system that’s already in place, not withstanding the exception of improper dumping that some people erroneously choose to do.”


But, for many areas, especially rural areas’ dumping remains a problem because no one has offered a practical and inexpensive alternative. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.