NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - Newport's recycling program is going strong and doing its part to make the area a greener, cleaner place to live.
Bonnie Watkins took over Newport's recycling center in August. Her enthusiasm for the program is evident as she spends a lot of time on the floor getting her hands dirty.
Watkins says the entire Jackson County embraces recycling.
Watkins, "The community has been so supportive. We have drop off bins outside so they can come after hours. Or they can come Monday - Friday 7 to 4 PM and we'll come out and help them unload it."
Outside two large semi trailers sit back to back, one being loaded with electronics to go to Texas, the other nearly filled with newspapers and magazines and books. That trailer will be sent to a paper recycler.
Inside the building, workers are off loading a trash truck full of cardboard for baling. Cardboard is one of their biggest products but not the only one.
Jackson, "We recycle plastics, cardboard, aluminum, steel, white paper." Many of the baled up products are sold to local recyclers. Although some money does come in from the sale of the recycled material Jackson says that keeping it out of the landfill and providing the service to the county is the important part to her.
I watched a large colorful bale roll off one of the compactors, it didn't look like paper to me. I realized then that any recycling center can handle cardboard and plastic. But what makes Newport's recycling program different is that they recycle clothing.
If you look around there are numerous multi-colored bales stacked in the building. A lot of the clothing comes from the re-sale store next door.
Jackson, "The stuff that they don't sell and we have a lot of individuals bring in items and we send it all to third world countries."
Another project underway has touched a recycling source long ignored. In her short time at the helm, Watkins says she is proudest of her can program recycling #10 tin cans from the prisons to be exact. The kind they get their vegetables and ketchup and things of that nature in.
Watkins, "It's just amazing the amount of cans that we have started recycling from just that facility alone. Otherwise they would go into our landfill."
Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. Jackson County's recycling program really lives those words and actions every day.
If you live in Jackson County and would like to know more about the recycling program such as where one of the more than 100 collection sites are located. You can give them a call at 870-217-0070 or stop by the center at 216 Third Street in Newport.