Corporate Angels

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 9, 2000. All rights


Waste Not . . .

One of Trenton’s century old family businesses was sold

several years ago, leaving a five-story building on New York Avenue

empty and its owner, Robert Pierce, with many memories and some

regrets. Now he has put his energy, his trucks, and his property into

service for a good cause: preserving the environment by keeping


products out of the waste stream.

Pierce’s property at 800 New York Avenue in Trenton is now the Trenton

Waste Exchange’s permanent drop-off site for used electronic equipment

and office furniture. Until now, Trenton Waste Exchange had been a

virtual warehouse, funded by a grant from the state department of

environmental protection to locate homes for unwanted but usable


Now its founder, Carol W. Royal, has a warehouse to call her


Well, almost her own. She rents it one day a week, Wednesdays. Any

corporation, small business, or resident of Mercer County can deliver

unwanted electronic equipment, office furniture, or just about


else, on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 800 New York Avenue (just

off the Olden Avenue exit of Route 1 South). Any small business or

resident of Mercer County can also buy equipment on Wednesdays.


nevertheless, are preferred. Most items sell at 90 percent discount

— something worth $200 might sell for $20. For information call

609-921-3393 (Box 693, Trenton 08604-0693, fax, 609-924-6632).

Some pick-up is available. "We are picking up various types of

office equipment, bringing them into our building, and preparing them

for other organizations to use. It has been exciting," says


His family had owned a 121-truck moving company, Pierce Van Lines,

for 97 years, but when it came for him to retire, and he sold the

company, the sale didn’t work out. It’s a sore subject. "Some

of my employees had worked for us for 60 years," says Pierce.

Now, at age 75, he is renting two floors (so far) of his building

at a reduced rate to the Trenton Waste Exchange at a reduced rate.

The building has about 465,000 square feet, sits on almost two acres,

and could theoretically sell, he estimates, for $500,000 to $600,000.

Among the handy extras are a certified truck scale and five trucks

that Pierce — who still has his commercial driver’s and hazardous

materials licenses — can use for pickups.

American Cyanamid, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AAA, and Public Service


& Gas have been among the donors to send equipment by the truckload:

"This stuff is in amazing condition. Half of it has never been

used," says Pierce. "Carol shakes the bushes or something.

She gets not only just corporate equipment, but anything that would

be usable for needy families or for overseas. We try to not turn down

anything that is donated to us."

Royal is also partnering with Priscilla Hayes, coordinator at

the New Jersey Solid Waste Policy Group at Rutgers Cook College, to

help educate children on recycling computers, mercury switching


and fluorescent light bulbs. For now, the site can accept only


but for general information on the NJSWPG call 732-932-1966, extension


Good computers are rehabilitated and the rest recycled. Donors who

are not nonprofits pay a $5 fee for recycling a terminal, because

of its hazardous materials: "We put damaged computers on a skid

and shrink wrap it, and a recycling company uses salvageable parts

or smelts the stuff," he says.

Among the other items that Royal can recycle; Adding machines, air

conditioning units, and art supplies. Bicycles, battery chargers,

and brushes. Calculators, clocks, and computers. Envelopes and


hand trucks and hardware. Kitchen equipment. Ladders and lumber.


oven and musical instruments. Paint, paneling, pens, and slide


Shelving, sound equipment, and staple supplies. Tables and toys.


vending machines, and video equipment.

Other goals for the Trenton Waste Exchange:

To aid nonprofits by providing them with reusable electronics,

furniture, and other equipment, so they can better use scarce dollars

for the needs of their clients.

To preserve the environment by keeping unwanted business


out of the waste stream.

To utilize the resources from these operations to provide


education and other human service programs.

To help companies benefit from donation tax credits; improved

public relations; and reduced waste removal costs.

"The response from the nonprofit community has been overwhelming.

They need everything," says Royal.

"It’s the old adage, somebody’s trash is somebody else’s


says Royal. "It’s a reawakening. Most people don’t care about

the environment, but more and more are caring."

Says Pierce: "I have adult children and I hope that their


won’t have to worry about whatever is polluting the environment."

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Corporate Angels

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