Help save environment, have some fun doing it

Bartholomew County residents will have opportunities to support the purpose of Earth Day, get rid of unwanted waste and enjoy family friendly events this weekend.

The Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District is offering recycling and environmental programs, children’s activities, food and more during its Earth Day celebration from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Columbus/Bartholomew Recycling Center, 720 S. Mapleton St. in Columbus.

Earth Day will be celebrated nationally Friday, as it is the anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, organized to bring focus on the environment.

The county’s solid waste management district has hosted an Earth Day celebration since at least the early 2000s, said Heather Siesel, the district’s director.

“We’ve always had some kind of amnesty and tried to have an education component,” Siesel said.

Typically, the event draws hundreds of visitors, she said.

Saturday, the solid waste district is offering an amnesty day for household and waste items that are difficult to dispose of, such as refrigerant appliances, propane tanks and tires. The district also will allow people to recycle corded electronics.

A plant swap is planned from 8 a.m. to noon, allowing residents to trade plants or plant supplies with others. A master gardener will be available to answer questions. Residents can get one pickup truck-sized load of mulch or compost for free. Anyone who attends the celebration also can enter a drawing to win a compost bin or rain barrel.

People can dine on hot dogs, chips and sodas during a hot dog roast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 3R’s Pavilion.

Staff from the kidscommons children’s museum will be on hand to help children make birdhouses out of reused coffee cans from 9 a.m. to noon. Members of the Bartholomew County RC Fliers will show their planes and help people make airplanes out of egg cartons. A new offering at the Earth Day celebration is Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.’s Book Express, Siesel said, which will allow children to explore the bus, donate a book and take one home. Earth Day T-shirts also will be given to children present who are 12 and younger.

Residents who want to get rid of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications can do so through the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department’s Drug Take Back event from 9 a.m. to noon. However, medications from businesses such as pharmacies will not be accepted, the sheriff’s department said.

Another benefit to residents is document shredding from 8 to 10 a.m. Donations will be accepted for the service to benefit Foundation for Youth.

If you go

What: Earth Day celebration and activities hosted by the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District

When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Columbus/Bartholomew Recycling Center, 720 S. Mapleton St., Columbus

Information: Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District 812-376-2614 or

Author photo
Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at or (812) 379-5639.