Bags and bags of bags
Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Folks were bringing back more than just overdue books to Suffolk libraries on Saturday, as both the Morgan Memorial and North Suffolk libraries participated in America Recycles Day.
Keep Suffolk Beautiful organized Saturday’s recycling drive, joining thousands of local organizers holding recycling events across the country for the special event, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful.
Suffolk citizens were encouraged to take their unwanted plastic bags, old batteries, retired cell phones and dried-up ink cartridges for recycling.
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At the end of the drive, there were hundreds of batteries, boxes of ink and laser cartridges, two bags of old cell phones and enough plastic bags to fill three large SUVs.
One of the SUVs was sent to Nansemond River High School, where the bags were delivered to teacher Sally Karadeema, whose Family, Career and Community Leaders of America class has been busy turning plastic bags into crocheted mats for the homeless.
Karadeema had contacted Keep Suffolk Beautiful, looking for plastic bags for the project, and was grateful to receive enough bags to complete it.
“It takes about 500 plastic bags to make one mat and I’m sure we now have more than enough to finish our target of five mats,” Karadeema said.
She had loaned Keep Suffolk Beautiful two finished mats to display at the drive, and many of the people attending the event were eager to support the students’ efforts.
“The mats are brilliant,” Wayne Jones, spokesman for Keep Suffolk Beautiful, said. “The public thought so, too, and it was great to showcase their project and use it as a talking point for the need to recycle. The average person uses 500 bags a year, and it takes about 500 bags to make one mat. The mat was a great visual to portray our message.”
In addition to collecting recyclables, the two locations had free giveaways, story time for children and a wealth of recycling information. Kathy Russell, chairwoman of Keep Suffolk Beautiful, was on hand at the North Suffolk location.
“It was a really successful drive, and the community came out to show their support,” she said. “We had local high school students taking selfies, homeowners excited to empty a closet full of plastic bags, and younger children who had a great time at story time. It was a lot of fun, and people were grateful for such events to help prompt them to do some extra recycling.”
Oceanography students from Nansemond River High School were encouraged to recycle their bags to help keep our oceans clean. The Keep Suffolk Beautiful team at the Morgan Memorial location was accompanied by the Virginia Master Naturalists, who displayed their successful program for fishing line receptacles found at the city’s fishing hot spots.
Master naturalist Claudia Lee said, “We wanted to partner with Keep Suffolk Beautiful, as they funded our receptacle program, and we wanted to show the public how much fishing line we have kept out of our waterways. It was also great to inform the public about the Virginia Master Naturalists, who we are, what we do and how you can join.”
Just because the event is over doesn’t mean your chance to make a difference has passed. Folks in Suffolk can recycle household batteries and ink cartridges all year long at all Suffolk Public Library locations.