News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Keep Highlands County Beautiful Chairman Mark Delaney (from left) thanks Charlie Wall on Tuesday morning for recycling in Sebring. Keep Highlands County Beautiful and S.P. Recycling are working together to encourage people to recycle during a ÔCaught-In-The-Act' Awards Program.
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published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Going green comes with rewards for local recyclers
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- A few local residents who happened to be going about their normal routines got a surprise Tuesday morning as they checked an everyday chore off their list.
Keep Highlands County Beautiful partnered with SP Recycling Southeast for the year three of the annual "Caught In The Act" awards program. The program is in its first year in Highlands County and is off to a great start leading up to the America Recycles Day on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Tuesday morning, Keep Highlands County Beautiful Chairman Mark Delaney and SP Chairman Graceann Henderson surprised local recyclers while they were dropping their items off at collection points.
At Max Long Recreation Complex, Kelley Larabee and her son, Connor Elwell, were tossing in phone books and cardboard boxes. A second recycler, Shirley Ness, joined in on the action just a short while after to discard her items.
The second location for the Caught Recycling campaign was the collection site behind Lakeshore Mall. There, spouses John and Kay Barber were unloading their recyclables in a hurry.
"We use this location and the one up near Walmart," said Kay. "We've always recycled."
James Lyon and Charlie Wall also were caught at the Lakeshore collection site. Both men said that they use the site for their items on a regular basis.
Highlands County's most-used collection site -- in the Winn-Dixie parking lot across the highway from Walmart -- was busy Tuesday morning as several residents brought the recyclables by the trunk-full. Jan Vogel, Katie Fitzimmons, Shirley and Gordon Stamets, Antonia Benibanonde and Alfred Jenkins each were surprise winners of the campaign.
The avid recyclers each were awarded a certificate, a News-Sun subscription and a Walmart gift card for their dedication to keeping Highlands County beautiful.
Former Keep Highlands County Beautiful chairman Christy Reed was present to assist with the campaign and explained the current recycling process in Highlands County.
"This isn't exactly user-friendly. You have to separate the items yourself and then haul it over here. The bins are old and the county does run into some problems. I know that they have had this process in place since 1990," said Reed.
Single-stream recycling, which has recently begun in Avon Park, is the easiest way for people to recycle. Residents are given one size garbage can, usually between 64 and 92 gallons, where all of their recyclable items may be placed. The cans are brought to the street, just like normal garbage pick up, and taken to the landfill. Once there, the recyclable are separated and taken care of accordingly.
Sebring City Council president and Keep Highlands County Beautiful board member John Griffin said that the county is working on possibly changing things.
"The county is looking into it changing it. They're working on getting a new recycling program," Griffin said.
In the meantime, recyclers new and old may do what they can to achieve the goal of keeping Highlands County clean. The "Caught in the Act" will continue through Thursday, awarding those who are doing their part in recycling all over Highlands County.
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