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Benefits heightened this week

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RECYCLING moves to the forefront this week in Bartholomew County.

Surprises and prizes will be handed out at random Thursday by the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District as part of a national American Recycles Day observance.

“We are going to be rewarding people with a reusable bag,” said Heather Siesel, the district’s education coordinator. “If we catch you at one of our recycling locations, you will also be in the running to win some recycled goodies and prizes.”

Saturday, the district will observe Amnesty Day, allowing county residents to get rid of items containing hazardous materials and other large items — for free.

For example, the district will accept up to four tires with the rims removed, as well as propane tanks and appliances containing refrigerates, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbus-Bartholomew Recycling Center, 720 S. Mapleton St.

“This means freezers, refrigerators and dehumidifiers taken that day without charge,” Siesel said.

She added the district usually charges $20 per unit to recycle items containing refrigerates to cover the cost of removing the Freon.

The district sponsors two Amnesty Days each year, one in the spring and the other in late fall.

Statistics show the number of vehicles bringing in recyclable materials increased 8.5 percent last year in Bartholomew County, compared to 2010. During the same one-year period, the total volume of materials dropped off for recycling increased by 3.6 percent, setting a local record for tonnage.

SWMD Director Jim Murray describes that increase as “slow but steady,” but with cardboard a big gainer.

The amount of recycled cardboard received in Bartholomew County has increased 181 percent over the past 15 years.

In terms of demand by commercial buyers, Siesel said both newspaper and cardboard are the biggest-selling items. She noted that curbside recycling programs for Bartholomew County businesses with cardboard have been both popular and profitable.

“But we are still getting a lot of cardboard at the landfill, as well as computers and other outdated electronics,” she said.

Siesel said adults are always interested in learning the least-busy time to drop off their items at the recycling center.

“I urge them to come on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” she said. “The lines on Tuesdays, Thursdays and especially Saturdays are almost double what they are on the other days.”

Also on recycling:

The district will have a booth to promote recycling at Saturday’s Déjà Vu Art Show at The Commons. More than 40 artists will have their reused or recycled art objects for sale or display between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In addition, there will also be some recycled art projects for children.

Siesel has given seven presentations on recycling at four different schools this fall.

At Northside Middle School, the district is working with the TerraCycle group to recycle toothpaste tubes including caps, toothbrushes, floss containers and any associated plastic packaging. The school makes money after those items are shipped off to be recycled into tote bags and other items.

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