Children get excited about recycling: Local VBS includes presentation on recyclables
Published 9:31 am Thursday, July 23, 2015
When a group of children at a local vacation Bible school were asked if their families recycled, a majority of hands went up enthusiastically.
Efforts in the past decade have led to the creation of Brookhaven Recycles, a city program increasing opportunities to recycle in the area. Until recently, Brookhaven’s waste company was not equipped to recycle. When the city switched to WastePro three years ago, the Brookhaven Recycles program was well underway, and since then blue bins can be seen all around town.
One champion of Brookhaven Recycles is Linda Moak. She has been a driving force behind the program, including educational outreach to teach people about the benefits of recycling and what Brookhaven’s specifications for recycling are.
During this week’s VBS at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Moak helped children make an ocean-themed craft with materials that had all been used before. Children learned a bit about repurposing while gluing shiny DVD pieces, Mardi Gras beads and bottle tops to create sea creatures.
Moak on Wednesday led the children through a list of items, asking if they are recyclable or trash. She held up a Diet Coke can, asking whether it can be recycled. One young man, John Kelly, answered, “Yes. You can make more cans from them,” he said, matter-of-factly. “A lot of them are made of cans that have been used before.”
Many more were savvy on what to throw in blue bins, and even more so when they learned to look for numbers on the bottom of plastic items.
All recyclable plastic items have a number within a recycle symbol on the bottom. Items with numbers 1 and 2 may be recycled in Brookhaven. Items with higher numbers or other recyclable materials such as glass can be recycled in larger cities where garbage volume is a more immanent concern and recycling programs are more extensive.
In Brookhaven, recyclable items are (clean) plastic bottles and jugs No. 1 and No. 2, aluminum cans, metal cans, newspapers, cardboard and mixed paper. Mixed paper includes magazines, hardcover and paperback books and slick copies. Items that cannot be recycled are glass, styrofoam, soiled paper, chemical containers, electronic equipment, plastic garden hoses, plastic toys and plastic bags.
The VBS children were getting the hang of deciphering between recyclable plastics and recognized cardboards and papers, but there were a few surprises. All items should be clean to eliminate the risk of contamination, which ruins an entire load of items. Most pizza boxes, though cardboard, have greasy spots or melted cheese and cannot be recycled. While some harder plastic items such as medicine bottles or spice containers can be recycled, something so common as yogurt containers often do not bear a No. 1 or No. 2.
“It makes me so sad,” Moak said. “Every time I enjoy my favorite yogurt, where does it have to go? In the trash.”
Moak said maybe some children will share their recycling know-how with parents and perhaps start recycling if they had not already. Curbside pick-up is available for Brookhaven residents who use city issued 18- or 35-gallon blue recycling containers, on either Monday or Tuesday depending on the area. Various city sites have blue bins as well, such as city parks and recreational facilities, city schools, municipal buildings and throughout the downtown area.
More information about the Brookhaven Recycles program can be found at http://brookhavenms.com/wp/city-departments/recycling-info/.