Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today announced that by recycling scrap metal and paper, and by initiating paperless invoicing processes, the Controller’s Office has helped improve the environment while saving money and increasing revenue. Controller Wagner has been dedicated to innovation and technology, and has applied those values to modernizing government while improving efficiency. Since she took office, Wagner has increased scrap metal recycling revenue by220%, saved more than 4,000 pounds of paper, and is anticipated to save the County more than $15,000 per year in paper, postage and ink.
“I’m very proud of our hard work and successful efforts to turn trash into cash and help County government operate more efficiently and ecologically,” Wagner said. “When I was elected, I promised to increase efficiency and transparency, and I’m very happy that we’ve been able to do that while being mindful of the environment, reducing waste and improving our surroundings. There is more work to be done, but we are on the right track toward protecting Allegheny County’s taxpayers and bringing County government up to date with modern technology to make it more transparent and service-oriented.”
One of the Controller’s most notable accomplishments in her environmental efforts is overseeing the transformation and improvement of the County’s scrap metal recycling program. Prior to Controller Wagner’s administration, efforts to recycle scrap metal had brought in $35,000 in revenue in 2010. Realizing the potential for growth, the Controller encouraged the Asset Management Division’s newsupervisor, Gary Vituccio, to lead the program to new heights. Vituccio amped up efforts to uncover and haul in metal, brass, tin, aluminum, lead and other scrap materials from all 37 County departments and facilities, and also negotiated a cheaper and more efficient contract with Michael Brothers Hauling and Recycling in 2011. Common scrap items include office furnishings such as cabinets, desks and cubicle partitions, as well as street light fixtures, playground equipment and heavy equipment debris. County scrappers retrieve the items from County departments and facilities, then sell it, by weight, to Michael Brothers, which then sells it to various clients who will reuse the materials. In 2013, the County received $112,095.82 in revenue from recycling scrap metal, which is $77,000 more than the amount of revenue brought in via the program the year before Wagner became Controller. The money goes into the County’s general fund.
Controller Wagner’s office has also helped cut down on waste and save the environment by shredding and recycling paper. A letter received from Allegheny Shredding in February 2014 celebrated the County’s work to shred and recycle paper throughout 2013. Last year, the County shredded 4,107 pounds of paper, which has helped save the environment by preventing the use of: 35 trees, 259 gallons of oil, 7 cubic yards of landfill, 8,214 kilowatts of energy and 14,375 gallons of water.
Another of Controller Wagner’s efforts to help County government operate more efficiently for the benefit of all taxpayers is her recently launched paperless invoicing initiative, which encourages vendors that do business with the County to submit their invoices via email rather than using paper and postage. Since the process began less than two months ago, the Controller’s Office has received about 1,300 emails with invoices, which have included approximately 1,600 invoices. Receiving these invoices electronically has saved an estimated 2,200 sheets of paper thus far, and is expected to save the County more than $15,000 in paper, postage and ink costs. Additional savings will be found in the ability to redeploy employees to tasks that add value and increased competition for County work because vendors will be assured of faster payment. Controller Wagner called the paperless process, “the return on investment our taxpayers deserve” and is her latest step toward using paperless methods to increase efficiency, save money and provide better service.