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Recycling with a heart: Casino shows it cares with carpeting

Sue Matthew, project manager at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem,  loads carpet for Luciano
Sue Matthew, project manager at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, loads carpet for Luciano "Lucky" Rios, of Metro Design.

While some businesses hope to be the “wind beneath the wings” of the community groups they help, the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is happy to be “the carpet beneath their feet.”

Metro Design of Allentown has been remodeling the casino’s hotel, which opened in 2011. Part of that effort was replacing the hotel’s carpeting, and the project left a little extra carpet hanging around.

And by a little, I mean more than 18,000 square feet of it.

Rather than toss it in a dumpster, which happens during construction projects more than you’d want to know, casino management decided to donate the carpeting to charity.

They took the carpet leftovers to Remita Rug Service in Allentown, which divided and bound it into 11 smaller rugs of varying sizes to meet the needs of the community groups that will receive them. The Sands also paid for the binding work.

This is news I love to hear.

Waste-not, want-not always has been a motto in my family.

My father, who had a career in the construction industry, always was bringing home scrap from job sites to reuse in one of his home craft or remodeling projects.

Today, we’d call it upcycling, and my father an artisan or socially conscious craftsman. But he’d just laugh at that.

To him, it was about being thrifty and using what you had on hand to make the things you wanted or needed.

He was never at a loss for material.

While the construction industry has gotten better in recent years about reusing materials, in my dad’s heyday, jobsite waste was ridiculous.

He made a set of end tables out of old wooden spools that were being thrown away once the copper wiring they supported was all used.

Our entire basement floor was tiled with leftover linoleum squares from work he did at a local discount department store that had over-ordered flooring trim.

My sun room was built out of one of his last jobs. He was rewiring the field house at Lehigh University about a decade ago and crews were throwing away the old bleacher seats.

While others saw useless, planks of garbage covered in layers of paint and decades of old gum, my dad saw usable aged-ash wood. And he had a wood planer at home that could get rid of all the old gum and paint.

I like to tell people that some very important bottoms have sat on the roof of my sun room over the years.

It makes me proud.

It also makes me proud when I see others – especially business leaders – use that old-fashioned thriftiness or new-fangled repurposing to make sure their construction waste isn’t wasted.

Chris Cleaver, executive director of Camelot for Children, one of the rug recipients, was grateful for the gift.

“The carpet we received improved our space tremendously,” Cleaver said. “We are able to make a more comfortable play space for the children and decorate a new movie area for families.”

Rugs also went to the Sixth Street Shelter, Safe Harbor and NHS Health Services.

So, kudos to Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for showing initiative not only in recycling, but in charity.

Good work.


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