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A storm shelter made from recycled plastic - KOAM TV 7

A storm shelter made from recycled plastic

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The threat of severe weather reminds us to have a safety plan ready, just in case.

Many Four State residents now have storm shelters in their homes, especially those who have rebuilt since the tornado.

Those shelters can be expensive, but a new type of storm shelter is getting attention from Joplin city officials.

Designs for the new storm shelter come from a company called Real Greenious, based near Springfield, Missouri.  One of their shelters is at Joplin's Chamber of Commerce building.

These storm shelters are made with recycled plastic.  The recycled plastic is melted down, formed into blocks and helps form concrete that's inside and outside the storm shelter.

Joplin city officials say they're impressed with both the storm shelter's affordability and safety that's been tested.

A worker with Real Greenious says the shelter is built to FEMA standards but uses even more concrete in some areas compared to a traditional shelter.

Sam Anselm, Joplin's assistant city manager, says these storm shelters are not as expensive as traditional shelters because Real Greenious uses donated materials and labor time.

"If companies wanted to donate concrete, unused concrete for example, he would be willing to take that in exchange for a tax break on that unused portion of concrete," says Anselm.  Then he could use that concrete as part of the safe room program, and then the company benefits because they don't have unused concrete laying around."

City officials say they are especially interested in these types of storm shelters because it may compliment a possible new recycling program in Joplin.  Anselm says the city may partner with Real Greenious, especially if Joplin voters give the go ahead for the new recycling program.

"What if we have a safe room program with a recycling program that can deliver those plastics?" says Anselm.  "If we could get those two parties to sit down and have a conversation together then I think that would be worth everybody's time."

The city-wide recycling issue will be on the ballot in August.

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