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Conservation in construction: Conway company makes recycling a part of the building process.

A news release touting a construction company's recycling efforts isn't the most likely place to find the lyrics of a Kenny Loggins song.

But the business of building homes is personal to Greg Gunter, president of Quality Homes by Gunter Construction Inc. of Conway.

Gunter joined the business owned by his father, Gerald Gunter, six months ago after having been a commercial real estate developer in California and Colorado.

In the West, Gunter says, recycling is more of an established concept than in Arkansas. Gunter was determined to push the recycling movement in his home state.

"I wanted to make recycling as effortless as possible for the home owner," Gunter says.

"You say you're aware, but do you care enough? Where's your conviction of the heart?"

Loggins first sang "Conviction of the Heart" for an Earth Day celebration.

Gunter is using the song as his theme.

Acting on that theme, he installs recycling bins in every house the company builds.

"They don't have to think about running down to the store to buy a recycling bin," Gunter says of home owners. "People almost can't help but get into the habit of recycling."

There is one bin each for aluminum, glass, newspapers and other recyclable items.

Three of the bins are permanently attached and utilize removable clear trash bags. The newspaper bin can be detached since newspaper recycling stations do not accept bags.

There are similar bins on the market. But they usually are made of pipe. Gunter uses scrap lumber to build his recycling bins.

Several construction companies offer recycling bins as options. Gunter says his is the only company he knows of that installs the bins as standard features of all new homes.

"I would like to see other home builders do the same," says Jane Beane, a Conway resident who was the first to purchase a Gunter house with recycling bins.

Beane was planning to purchase a recycling bin, but she admits, "It was probably not the priority item."

Gunter wants people to use the bins as soon as they are moving boxes into new homes.

Tons Of Trash

The United States produces about 11 billion tons of trash per year. That translates into about 4 pounds of trash daily per U.S. resident.

Two percent of the waste is targeted for recycling. Of that 2 percent, only 13 percent is recycled.

Gunter describes his efforts as "a drop in the ocean of ecology."

Gunter, who has a bachelor's degree in architecture and a master's degree in business, says he is a student of recycling.

"A 4-foot stack of newsprint will save a 12-foot pine tree," he says. "It takes 500,000 trees each week just to produce the Sunday newspapers."

Since moving to Conway, Gunter has become active in the volunteer group that directs area recycling efforts. Once a month, volunteers gather on a grocery store parking lot to collect items that can be recycled.

The city wants eventually to require recycling. Conway officials hope the system they use will make it unnecessary for people to separate materials at home. But Gunter views that as a potentially costly procedure when compared with people sorting their trash at home.

The bins Gunter uses cost only $30 plus labor. The bins, which are installed in garages, could be marketed for retail sale. But Gunter is not planning to enter the retail market anytime soon.

"We're home builders," he says.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Journal Publishing, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Corporate Conservation; Quality Homes by Gunter Construction Inc.
Author:Rengers, Carrie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Feb 10, 1992
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