BATESVILLE — Two local 4-H clubs have been recycling newspapers for the past 25 years, long before being “green” was popular.
Tammy Sidell, Busy Bees 4-H Club leader, recalls, “The boys’ club started it and invited the girls to join.”
John Brelage, Country Kids 4-H Club leader, remembers going door-to-door asking citizens if they had newspapers to recycle. “We only did that once, and it was a lot of hard work. Then we put a building (which is now located in front of the Batesville Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry at 120 Sycamore St.) for the community members to put the papers in.”
Over 70 club members take turns moving newspapers from the shed to a semi located offsite so they can be recycled.
Newspapers and other items made of newsprint are accepted. However, magazines are not.
The No. 1 preferred way to package the papers is in a brown paper bag, but “they can be put in anything,” Brelage reveals. “If they are put in plastic bags, we have to throw those bags away. We have to dump them out of cardboard boxes, but we can recycle the cardboard .... It’s OK to tie them up with strings. We just have to cut them off when we put them in the semi.”
The money raised from the project is used to pay for membership dues, project books, insurance to travel to 4-H events, end-of-the-year trips, tickets for the fair’s Junior Leaders booth and camp fees.
Both leaders hope members learn responsibility from doing this. “We want the kids to do the work, with the parents there to supervise so it becomes a family project,” Sidell notes.
Brelage announces, “All along we’ve been talking a lot about how the landfills are filling up. We collect between 60-80 tons of newspaper a year. That’s two to three semi loads that doesn’t go into the landfill.
“We really appreciate the community’s support .... It’s awful nice of them to bring the newspapers to the shed.”
Erin Moll, 18, a 10-year Busy Bees 4-H Club member, points out an advantage of the fundraiser: “Our 4-H club is more involved in the community.”
The teen also encourages people to support the venture. “If you have any extra papers lying around, and you want to help the environment, bring them to the newspaper shed.”
Zach Koehne, 17, Country Kids 4-H Club president, believes it “helps our community to recycle and helps our club out with projects we might want to do or trips we might want to take.”
Sidell adds, “If anyone wants to donate newspapers, and they’re elderly or can’t get out, we’ll be glad to pick the papers up .... Also, the clubs are always looking for service projects if the elderly need help with something.” They can contact her at 934-4086.
Diane Raver can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 114; or diane.raver@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.