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By Madeline Zuckerman

Palm Desert, CA.  – Desert Arc, known for its outstanding work of enhancing the lives and creating opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, was one of five recipients of the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources’ Sustainability Award on April 30th.  This annual Sustainability Award was established to distinguish the significant contributions of an organization’s efforts towards sustainability.  It is centered on the concept of recognizing innovative business practices that exemplify the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink.  Every year the Board of Supervisors submits nominations from each of its five districts. 

            “We are celebrating our 60th Anniversary this year, and we are honored to receive this prestigious Sustainability Award,” stated Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc.  “We are grateful to Supervisor Perez for nominating our Recycling Division, in recognition of our leadership role in the field of environmental stewardship program and serving people with disabilities,” Balocco continued.

Back Row: Hans Kernkamp (Riverside County Dept. of Water Resources General Manager-Chief Engineer), Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, (First District), Supervisor Karen Spiegel (Second District), Supervisor Chuck Washington (Third District), Supervisor V. Manuel Perez (Fourth District). Second Row: Bonnie Woodrome, (EVMWD), and Clara Miramontes (City of Perris). First Row: Leah Di Bernardo (EAT Marktplace), Joanne Di Bernardo (EAT Marketplace), Christina Henry (EVMWD), Haley Munson (EVMWD), Isabel Carlos (City of Perris), Sabrina Chavez (City of Perris), Angelique Ontiveros (Desert Arc), and Frank Gonzales (Amazon Paint).

            Desert Arc’s Recycling Division, one of the five district winners selected for this prestigious Sustainability Award, was nominated by Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. Other distinguished honorees included Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Amazon Paint, Eat Marketplace in Old Town Temecula, and the City of Perris for its Live Well Perris Campaign and Grow Perris initiative.

            “Having toured Desert Arc’s Recycling Division, I have seen the hard work it does to recycle cardboard and electronics and keep these products from going to waste,” stated Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.  “The Recycling Center is driving environmental progress in the Coachella Valley and in our country.  For its leadership in sustainability, Desert Arc merits this recognition,” Perez continued.

            Commented Hans Kernkamp, General Manager-Chief Engineer of the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources, “these businesses and organizations are demonstrating a long-term commitment to creating healthier communities through sustainability and environmentally sound business practices.” 

            The end result of what Desert Arc achieves is clear: paper, cardboard, and electronics are being recycled instead of ending up in the landfill.  Whether it is picking up a big load of cardboard and inserting it into a baler, or diligently disassembling an old computer to uncover electrical components, there is always an opportunity to recycle.  Desert Arc fills a tractor trailer a week of both cardboard and shredded paper.

            “Desert Arc’s Recycling Division, headquartered in Indio, is thrilled to receive the Sustainability Award,” stated Angelique Ontiveros, Director of Business Services & Facilities for Desert Arc. “Our team works very hard each and every day to help make a difference in reducing waste and recycling resources in our local community.  It means a lot to all of us to be recognized among other innovative green business solutions in Riverside County,” Ontiveros continued.