On Earth Day 2022, the International Recycling Group (IRG) teamed up with community members at the Soldiers and Sailors Home to clean up the neighborhood near E. 3rd Street.

“We cleaned up a lot of Ash Street so that makes us feel good. We live in Edinboro but we come to Erie to enjoy the library, the lake, all these good things. We decided to come clean it up,” said Jonella Roudtree, Celebrating Earth Day.

One leader from Wm T. Spaeder Co. said the company has been in the area for more than 100 years. They said employees want to do their part.

“We’re doing our part to come out and hope to set an example for other businesses and other people in the communities to do their part and make our city and our planet a little bit better place on Earth Day,” said Tom Kaspick, Head of Corporate Business Development for Wm. T. Spaeder Co.

Mitch Hecht, the founder of IRG said it’s great to great to see the Earth Day cleanup event grow each year as they prepare to build a recycling facility in Erie.

“We’re going through permitting now, we’ve gotten a lot of support and we’re hoping to get all that wrapped up in the summer. We’re targeting to have all of our product funding, it’s a $200 million project so it’s a lot. We’re hoping that it comes together by the end of the year,” said Mitch Hecht, Founder of International Recycling Group.

IRG has purchased the former Hammermill Paper site. Representatives said this event helps them better understand the community.

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“We feel like this is our home now that we’re going to be on the east side, that’s where we’re going to be building the building. We want to take pride in that and feel like we’re a neighbor to everyone in the neighborhood,” said Ashley Heilmann, Senior Campaigner, International Recycling Group.