Recycling conserves energy, resources

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today is the 40th celebration of Earth Day and one of the things everyone can do to get in on the act of keeping the earth livable is recycle. Those in Vernon County who already recycle or are wanting to begin, are fortunate to have a recycling center in Nevada.

Aside from getting rid of the trash around the home, recycling has a number of benefits. Some recyclables, such as aluminum, are valuable and can be sold. Recycling paper has the added benefit of reducing deforestation on this continent and around the world.

There are other recycling related benefits according to the Environmental Protection Agency Web site. Just a few of the benefits of recycling are reducing the need for landfills and incineration, conserving natural resources like water and minerals, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing pollution.

Recycling is not hard, but it does take some time to organize a system for collecting the various materials commonly recycled. Four or five small trash receptacles marked with the kind of material to go in them is all that is needed to begin. A home recycling center can be constructed from light lumber and can be elaborate or just a simple rack which will accommodate the containers and can be kept in the garage or mud room.

If space is an issue, the whole thing can be kept outside, too. There are several Web sites with information to help with recycling. One of them,, will provide easy plans for building an outside place to neatly and safely store your recycle bins.

Regular visits to the local recycling center will prevent large accumulations of materials. Valuable materials or materials that take up less space can be taken on a less frequent basis. And things that do take up space can often be reduced in size.

For instance, plastic bottles take up a lot of space, but that can be remedied by simply crushing the bottle before putting it into the receptacle. Most of them crunch down easily with the lid off and replacing the lid prevents them from returning to their original size and shape. Aluminum cans can be crushed by hand or with the aid of a can crusher. Get the kids involved. Most kids will jump at the chance to stomp a water bottle or aluminum can flat. Let them decorate the receptacles.

Many of the things used around the home on any given day can be recycled, but the local recycling center only takes certain items.

The city of Nevada Recycling Center at 301 N. Colorado, is open Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is happy to take recyclable items during those hours whether it is Earth Day or not.

One of the most frequently recycled items is glass and the local center has recently acquired a glass crusher. The crusher makes the center more efficient, but people still need separate the glass according to color, and the center has boxes set up for each color.

Plastics also are a very recyclable item and there are two kinds accepted at the local center, No. 1 and No. 2. Teach the kids to look at the bottom of a plastic container to see which number is surrounded by the recycle arrows. Common bottles that are taken include milk jugs, soda and water bottles and household cleaner bottles, but there are others.

Paper has long been recycled and most kinds are accepted. Magazines, home office paper, newspapers and inserts as well as some other kinds of paper can be taken to the center in a brown paper grocery sack for ease of transport. Corrugated cardboard is also accepted but must be flat and free of staples or metal fasteners. for questions regarding the recycle center call (417) 448-2700.

Yard waste also can be recycled, or at least reused. the city compost center is located at 702 S. Jefferson, and has new hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as well as the first and third Saturday of each month between 8 a.m. and noon.

This facility accepts grass clippings leaves and tree limbs.

Anything brought to the compost center in a bag must be removed from the bag. The leaves and clippings brought to the site go onto a compost pile and the limbs are ground in a chipper to be used as mulch. The compost and wood chip mulch is free to the public, but there is no delivery. Bring as large a container as needed and a vehicle to transport it home.

Recycling is just one of many ways that people in more than 175 countries celebrate Earth Day, which was first observed on April 22, 1970. Earth Day was first thought of in the '60s.

It was just an idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson. After voicing his concerns about the environment to president John F. Kennedy, Nelson began to attend environmental conferences and would travel around the country speaking on environmental issues.

Finally, according to an article written by Nelson and published in the October 1993 issue of "American Heritage Magazine," Nelson announced at a September 1969 conference in Seattle, "that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate." The rest, as they say, is history.

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