Community helps college in recycling competition

Feb. 12, 2013 @ 12:14 AM

The Sevier County campus of Walters State Community College, with the help of Keep Sevier Beautiful and Goodwill, is doing all it can to help locals recycle electronics, paper and clothing, while trying to win a competition at the same time.

The campus is currently taking part in the Recyclemania Tournament, a competition to see which institution of higher learning can recycle the most stuff.

Walters State partnered with Keep Sevier Beautiful and Goodwill to make this a community event, wherein anyone from the area could come to the campus Saturday and drop off old electronics or clothes, as well as paper for shredding.

Amanda Barnes, coordinator for the Sevier County campus, said about 95 percent of the recycled materials came from individual households, but businesses were also welcome to drop off material.

"What happens is people will bring their stuff in and drop it off, and we're going to weigh it and it counts as part of our Recyclemania Tournament total," Barnes said.

By Saturday morning, a moving van and a dumpster were already half full of old computer monitors and television sets. All the electronics were taken to Goodwill partner Dale Electronic.

"All the electronics are reprocessed through them, with parts recycled or reused," said Jack Horner, vice president of recycling operations for Goodwill.

The paper was shredded for free through Goodwill's recycling plant, and the clothes were all taken to Goodwill.

"The paper shredding has turned out to be a pretty good draw today, in addition to electronics," Barnes said.

The institution with the most recycled material, in terms of weight, wins the competition. Since this was Walters State's first year in the competition, Barnes said they didn't have any expectations.

"We're in a benchmark competition with other colleges that have around 1,500 students, and really our goals are just to see what we can do, see that we can make a difference this time and go from there," Barnes said. "We would like to make it an annual event, so we're going to see how it goes.

"We're sort of going in blind, but we're really excited."

Keep Sevier Beautiful and Goodwill have organized community recycling events in the past, including one in the fall of 2012.

"That one was heavy on paper, so I think we've gotten a lot of the paper cleared out of the area," Horner said.

rhargett@themountainpress.com