COVINGTON -- Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful has received a $1,000 cash award from Keep America Beautiful for plastic bottle recycling efforts during last year's Great American Cleanup.
The award was given as part of a nationwide effort sponsored by Nestle Waters North America. Newton County contributed 79,760 pounds of plastic to the effort, and was recognized as one of the top plastic bottle recyclers during the 2010 campaign. Overall, a total of 266 million bottles were recycled nationwide.
"We're so happy to receive this award and appreciate the opportunity to let the public know about our environmental programs and recycling in our community," said Sara Vinson, chairman of the KCNB Recycling Committee and member of its executive board.
Vinson said she hopes the money will be used for KCNB's educational programs. She noted that plastic bottles are one of the most frequent types of litter found along Newton roadways, along with fast-food packaging.
"Bottles on the side of the road are a problem. The more we can get recycled, the more we can keep out of the landfill," she said.
Vinson's students at Montessori School of Covington helped pick up bottles during the Great American Cleanup and are currently studying bottle litter in the classroom because it is such a pervasive problem.
Newton County residents can recycle plastic bottles at any Neighborhood Recycling Center by simply placing bottles in the appropriate container. Lids should be removed first and thrown out, as they hinder the compacting process.
Nestle Pure Life PET Recycling Awards were awarded to 24 Keep America Beautiful affiliates that collected the most pounds of plastic bottles for recycling based on the population served.
"Keep America Beautiful congratulates KCNB for its plastic bottle recycling accomplishments during the 2010 Great American Cleanup," said Gail Cunningham, senior vice president of the organization and manager of the cleanup. "Through (their) PET recycling efforts and the efforts of other organizations in communities across America, a record number of bottles were recycled -- a record that KCNB should be proud of."
The Great American Cleanup takes place annually from March 1 through May 31 and encourages local groups and individuals to pick up litter and undertake other beautification projects in their communities.