AR Energy Corps Members Talk Trash (and Recycling)!

Bottle Cap Bonanza
In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers plastic bottle caps pose to the environment, Energy Corps member Leah Saffian started collection drives around Fayetteville and the surrounding areas. The caps were then used to create murals by a group of students at Happy Hollow Elementary.  Without proper disposal, these caps often wind up in our watershed where they appear as a viable food source to various animals, such as turtles, birds and fish. Once the plastic settles in the animals’ digestive tracts, they can no longer absorb nutrients and will eventually starve.

Incidentally, the advent of this project was preceded by the City of Fayetteville’s announcement of the inclusion of #3 through #7 recyclables at the free 24 hour Community Recycling Drop-Off located at 1420 S. Happy Hollow Road. Since the plastic caps are considered #5’s, they may now be melted down and turned in to new products, further reducing the amount of waste entering our rivers and lakes or sent to the landfill.

Master artist and educator Kathy Snodgrass was thrilled with the completed projects. “I personally could not have brought such wonderful hands-on activities to my students. I was reading through some of the journals and the impact our team made on these students will stay with them a long time, if not a lifetime,” Kathy said.
Ultimately, these murals will be placed on display at several upcoming events, including the AEEA Expo in July.

Serious Solid Waste
Energy Corps member Bill Dollar of Boston Mountain Solid Waste District is meeting with mayors and their staff to gather and compile waste stream collection information.  His survey looks at current population, estimated population growth for 2020, current single and multi-family housing units, and other basic metrics, as well as the “who, what, when, why and how” for monthly tonnage amounts.  Once all the surveys are in, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District will have a more comprehensive look at the current waste stream practices for all 13 cities in Washington County.   Dollar says, “I believe this information will provide each city with a better understanding of where they are today, as well as where they can improve on waste and recycling management in the future.”

Spreading the Word
Energy Corps member Renee Reed is currently involved in several projects related to increasing public awareness of environmental affairs.   This includes teaching eighth and ninth grade AP students about the local recycling options for their community, reading to kindergarteners about the trash monster, learning how to run the aluminum baler at the Madison County Solid Waste Center, and volunteering for various community events.  Additionally, Renee is constantly looking for ways to share her story and experiences with others.  “Whether it is paper work or field work, being part of AmeriCorps is all about making connections, learning the varied needs of the people of Washington and Madison counties, and figuring out how we can help,” Ms. Reed says.

City of Fayetteville Recycling Outreach and Education Campaign
Liz Hill and Dan Dean have plenty of reasons to smile about their latest Apartment Recycling Event.

City of Fayetteville Recycling Outreach and Education Campaign
Arkansas Energy Corps members Dan Dean and Liz Hill are currently working with the City of Fayetteville on a threefold Recycling Outreach and Education Campaign. The first part of the campaign that they worked on most of the winter months involved surveying businesses in some target areas of Fayetteville about their current waste and recycling practices and needs, informing them about the City’s Commercial Recycling services, and helping them to sign up for any services they were ready to add. The second part of the campaign is what they are currently focused on this Spring, and that is the new Multi-Family Recycling program that just started late Fall of 2011 at a few apartment complexes in Fayetteville.  They are working on getting the word out about the new program, both to apartment complexes that are eligible to begin the new program, as well as the residents in the complexes currently participating in the new program.  Some of the fun methods of outreach happening this month are two Earth Day related events at apartment complexes, complete with games, crafts, prizes and, of course, information about recycling, energy efficiency, Energy Corps, and more! As the dust settles after the whirlwind of events in April, Dan and Liz plan to switch gears to focus more on increasing participation in the Residential Curbside Recycling program, complete with doing audits of target areas with low recycling numbers, and a door-to-door education campaign.

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