Tennessee Church Tackles Environmental Issues with Community

First Presbyterian Church takes part in Community Recycling Event

First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, TN joined forces with their community and other organizations to gather over 100,000 pounds of recyclable electronics. While raising awareness of how recycling can save the planet, the community of Jackson came together on April 30 to celebrate America Recycles Day. Read this article, written by Alice-Catherine Carls of Jackson, TN.

The City of Jackson’s spring e-cycle event collected 101,960 pounds of electronic wastes that would otherwise have ended up in local landfills. While the main event was on April 30, local businesses were collecting waste before and after that date. 207 individual households and businesses from 10 Southwest Tennessee counties participated. The April 30 event netted one-third of the amount collected, with the other two-thirds collected from 32 businesses. Items collected included computers, laptops, CPUs, monitors, mice, keyboards, scanners, printers, toner cartridges, modems, speakers, power cords, internal computer components, DVD players, VCRs and PDAs. The e-cycle event also was a collection site for the “Cell Phones for Soldiers” program, a nationwide program started by teens that turns old cell phones into prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas. “The event gave the community the opportunity to properly recycle electronic equipment and keep hazardous materials out of the landfill and water supply,” said Councilman Ernest Brooks II, who sponsored the event along with the City of Jackson.

Pastor and Councilman

Pastor John White (FPC) and Jackson City Councilman Ernest Brooks II

The event was the third held in Jackson. In the spring of 2010, City Councilman Ernest Brooks II sponsored an e-recycling event, and First Presbyterian Church sponsored a similar one in the fall to celebrate America Recycles Day. In 2011, both groups joined forces in a city-wide, public-private partnership, organized and staffed by volunteers. Organizations involved were First Presbyterian Church, Union University, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Keep Jackson Beautiful, University of Tennessee at Martin, and Masonic Lodge No. 72. Starbucks gived coffee and Pizza Hut gived pizzas. Southeast Recycled Fiber partnered with Sunrise Recycling Services and other Jackson-based recyclers to ensure efficient disposal of the items. Southeast Recycled Fiber, primarily a paper products recycler, became a second-level destruction expert. It separated metals and plastics out and completely destroyed all items before being shipped from Jackson. Companies and individuals were given a “document of destruction” if they requested it. First level destruction, i.e., the melting of precious metals, was done by specialized, licensed companies.

The April 30 event was an opportunity to broaden recycling awareness and education. Local students from Jackson Christian School and St. Mary’s School displayed artwork created from recycled materials as a part of science fair and art class events at their school. Recycling informational literature was handed out to everyone who brought recyclables. Information sharing is already occurring with recycling groups in other West Tennessee cities. Local colleges plan to hold e-recycling drives. The City plans to repeat the e-cycle event and add the collection of other items. For First Presbyterian Church, this initiative is part of an environmental stewardship action plan that combines stewardship of self, community, and resources, and promotes recycling, education, and preservation efforts. The youth of FPC are involved in the recycling effort. The church campus is a Level One arboretum. For more information, see the church’s Stewardship information/education page.

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