Bundling up your old newspapers can buy sight and hearing for local people in need.

Bundling up your old newspapers can buy sight and hearing for local people in need.

Glory Cooper, executive director of the Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center is hoping to "Light One Candle under the community" to boost the public donation of newspaper to their big, blue newspaper recycling bins located all over Jackson County.

"The main goal continues to be to provide eyeglasses and hearing aids to the people in need," Cooper said.

Income from the recycling effort pays for about half of the center's patient care program — a community service the Sight & Hearing Center has provided since 1967, she said.

During the last fiscal year the program helped 136 children, students, the underemployed, seniors and others with eye exams, eyeglasses, hearing exams and hearing aids, Cooper said.

But the club's attempts to raise money via the recycling effort has hit a "double whammy" over the past year, she said.

The price of paper salvage has dropped dramatically, along with the amount of paper collected, Cooper said. In July, the recycle price per ton of paper was $44.75. By November, the price had decreased to $29.75 per ton, she said. From July to November 2012, the total collected was 117 tons, only about a third of 2011 totals, she added.

"The good news to all this is that folks in our area are big on recycling," Cooper said. "But we want them to recycle their newspapers into our bins."

Rogue Disposal & Recycling picks up the blue bins, some of which "are the size of a single-wide mobile home," Cooper said.

The club pays a hauling fee to the collection company off the top, then sells the paper as a commodity. But prices have been on a downward spiral, she said.

"We've been watching it go down and down," Cooper said.

Every donated newspaper counts, Cooper said. Those who may be "putting their newspaper in their home collection red barrels," are asked to rejoin the blue-bin brigade and drop them off at any of the center's sites.

Cooper said the collection bins are strategically placed for public use, and the Lions center wants everyone's unwanted newspapers, she said.

"We want them all," Cooper said, adding there is no need to pull glossy advertising sheets or inserts that come with the paper. All that extra paper adds weight, which means more money and more eyeglasses and hearing aids, she said.

Cooper noted that a bin is located a block away from The Mail Tribune and adjacent to the Lions Club, which offers free space for the local Food and Friends program and houses the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

"Right now the (Mail Tribune-area) bin is nearly empty," Cooper said. "I'd sure like to see our bins filling up more quickly."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.