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KCNB introduces recycling programs through November

COVINGTON - America Recycles Day is Nov. 15, and Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful is offering lots of ways for local residents to do their part throughout the entire month.

Beginning today, from 8 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of each month, the Newton County Landfill will accept the following new items for recycling: car and truck batteries; marine batteries; all rechargeable batteries; household and regular flashlight batteries; TVs; cell phones; and printer cartridges.

The landfill already accepts paints, both latex and oil based; pesticides; computers; printers; and other plug-in electronics.

On Nov. 17, KCNB will launch a new Styrofoam tray recycling program at county elementary schools.

"For years people have asked us why we don't recycle all those trays at schools. We've never had an opportunity until now," said KCNB Director Connie Waller.

The program is expected to be a waste and cost savings measure for the schools, she said.

Kids will stack trays on racks hanging on the side of trash cans and the trays will then go into the bags and be deposited in a recycling bin.

Each school uses between 500 and 1,000 trays per day. With each bag holding about 500 trays, garbage bag use should be reduced from about 10 bags per day to one or two, Waller said.

KCNB is asking for volunteers to help students learn how to recycle trays during the first week.

Students will also get a chance to put their creativity to good use with KCNB's annual Trash to Treasure Art Contest.

Students in elementary through high school will create art from discarded items typically considered trash or from recyclable materials. Entries must be delivered to the children's section of the Newton County Library at 7116 Floyd St. between 3 and 5 p.m. Nov. 10. Winners will receive savings bonds.

But you don't have to be a student to get in on the act. Thanks to a grant from the Department of Community Affairs, KCNB now has a portable trailer with recycling bins that can be borrowed free by anyone hosting a special event. The trailer was expected to make an appearance on the Square for Friday's Halloween festivities.

KCNB has pledge sheets for individuals, families, organizations and businesses that want to commit to starting a recycling program.

It's not hard to do and really makes a big difference, according to Jennifer Morganthall, a member of the First Methodist Church of Covington's Green Team, the group in charge of the church's recycling program. The program was the brainchild of Associate Pastor Julie Schendel.

"Our associate pastor brought it to the forefront about being environmental stewards. It's not just about giving money and time but taking care of the earth we're given," Morganthall said.

Simple steps, like having churchgoers throw their bulletins into recycling bins after services, add up, she said.

Morganthall, who is also special events planner for the church, also makes sure to have bins on hand at gatherings, and uses a dishwasher that recycles water.

In addition, church leaders have posted signs reminding everyone to turn off lights when leaving the room.

Recyclables are collected and taken to a central bin area and then dropped off at a county recycling center.

"It's just a very easy matter once you let people know," Morganthall said.

First Baptist Church of Covington and industries like PACTIV have also started recycling programs.

Recycling pledge forms can be downloaded at www.americarecyclesday.org.

For more information on how to start your own program or on any of America Recycles Day activities, call KCNB at 770-784-2015 or e-mail newtonclean@co.newton.ga.us.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Do's and Don'ts of Recycling

· Do remember cleanliness counts - Rinsing cans and keeping boxes out of the weather makes them easier to process and keeps costs down.

· Do pay attention to what goes in a recycling bin - A cereal box is probably fine, but a greasy pizza box may not be. Milk jugs are probably OK, but not the caps. Check the lid of your recycling bin or call your municipality for guidelines.

· Steel and aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, plastic beverage bottles, milk jugs, glass bottles and jars, cereal boxes, and other clean and dry cardboard boxes are usually recycling dos.

· Don't mix hazardous wastes like paint cans, motor oil, antifreeze, car batteries, pesticides and pool chemicals in with other recyclables. Check for your community guidelines on disposal of hazardous material.

· Information courtesy of the National Recycling Coalition