Earth Day has locals going green - WRBL

Earth Day has locals going green

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

People worldwide are chipping in to reduce, reuse and recycle this Earth Day.

Just over half of people in Columbus recycle on a regular basis, but that amounts to less than four percent of the total weight in trash. This Earth Day some locals are learning about the impact they really have on the environment.

Jordan High science coach Lisa Randolph led freshmen in an Earth Day project that taught them how to repurpose old mugs as flower pots. She says it's important to spark an environmental interest in kids at a young age. "I think the history of Earth Day gets lost because it was in the 70s," she says, "and so our students are really excited about contributing to creating a healthy planet. They just kind of need to be reminded of it.

Freshman Dominique Collins says his family just started recycling and it feels good to go green. He says, "I think we should because without the planet we wouldn't have anywhere to live."

Jada Crawford, also a freshman, says the project taught her to think twice before tossing things in the trash. "If I had this mug in my house, I probably would have threw it away," she says of her new flower pot. "And now I have the idea, instead of throwing it away, I can use it to put a plant in it."

At Aflac's Paul Amos campus, which has some of the most advanced recycling options in Columbus, employees sorted a week's worth of trash to see just how many recyclables their colleagues throw away.

Employee Communications Supervisor Susan Goodsell says, "Most people utilize the recycling bins that we have, but sometimes it's a couple steps too far away, and what we want to encourage them to do it take those couple extra steps so that our colleagues don't have to sort their trash."

Even with the most advanced technology, about half of the items that end up in the trash can are still recyclable. Goodsell says maybe they need to remind employees of all the recycling options available to them.

"We recycle our Styrofoam using a densifier," she says. "It's a large machine in the back of the building that all the foam goes into and it squishes it down. You can take 8000 cups and squish it down to a 40 pound core." Aflac recycles 74 percent of the company's waste and last year, saving over 2000 cubic yards of landfill space.

Many Columbus residents living in apartments don't have the option to recycle, but the city hopes to change that when their new state of the art recycling center opens in July.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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