Saturday, July 17, 2010

TOP STORY > >Recycle center wins state education award

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Recycling Education Park has been selected as the 2010 Recycling Education Program of the Year by the Arkansas Recycling Coalition.

The award will be presented at the ARC awards luncheon at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 15 at the Robinson Center in Little Rock during the annual conference and trade show.

Jacksonville Recycling Center supervisor Jason Pinkston said, “We are very honored to be chosen trying to do our part to educate students of the community, thus making a big impact on keeping the Earth green.”

Pinkston estimated that since April, more than 500 school children have toured the recycling center and the education park on Marshall Road.

Students have come from Jacksonville Elemen-tary School, Dupree Elementary School, Cabot Public Schools and Sherwood Elementary. Modern Woodmen of America and the Girl Scouts have visited the facility.

Ron Newport, director of Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, said about the award, “We’re really pleased.”

He said the recycling education center is unique. It was built on recycled land that was part of the old Vertac chemical plant.

“The recycling education park has had a tremendous impact on the volume of recycling,” Newport said.

He said before the education park opened there were three dumpsters inside a shed for recycling drop-offs during the weekend. Now there are 12 dumpsters with landscaping that are filled on the weekends.

The recycling education park opened in 2008. The park has a walking trail with 11 plaques along the path explaining what can be recycled and how it is used to make new products.

The park has a pavilion and an area showing how kitchen scraps are turned into compost for a garden or a flower bed.

Tours are available at the center. Visitors can see how aluminum cans, cardboard and plastics are sorted and baled.

The landscaping near one of the recycling centers doors is made of chipped up rubber tires are used in landscaping.

Jacksonville Public Works Director Jimmy Oakley said he is very pleased with the announcement of the award.

“The recycling rate in Jackson-ville wasn’t as high as we wanted. We decided to build the park to educate the public about recycling. It has been very successful,” Oakley said.

He said children are excited about coming to the park.

The Jacksonville Recycling Center accepts newspapers, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans and clear and colored plastic bottles. Glass is not accepted.

Also collected are plastic shopping bags and electronic waste such as televisions, computers and radios. Household chemicals are collected every Wednesday and 8 a.m. to noon the fourth Saturday of the month.

Free mulch and crushed glass are available to the public at the center anytime. The recycled glass comes from Little Rock Air Force Base. It can be used as a substitute for sand with drainage projects or used as a base material in construction or flower beds.

The recycling center drive-through drop off is open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and opened to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The dumpsters outside the center are available to drop off recyclables anytime.