Earth Day was celebrated this week all over the world, and in some cases and campaigns, it has even turned into Earth Week to lengthen efforts in environmental defense.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated every year on April 22, beginning in 1970, and is coordinated by the Earth Day Network. Each year, events are held worldwide to demonstrate support to help protect the environment in the more than 190 participating countries.
A major contribution to help the environmental cause begins with recycling.
According to Lebanon Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines, Lebanon and Wilson County do not have established recycling programs, unlike some other cities and counties.
“In Lebanon right now you have two options, individuals can take their recyclables to different convenience centers we have set up across the county, or some folks pay private companies to do their recycling,” Baines said. “There’s also bins like at Kroger and options like that.”
Though Baines said there are several roads the public currently can go with recycling, he thinks a more structured plan could come in the future.
“Right now it’s all voluntary and it’s up to the individual to take their recyclables to the locations that accepts recyclable materials,” Baines said. “But I think something could be coming sooner versus later.”
As far as options for individuals dropping off their recyclables, Wilson County Solid Waster Director Cindy Lynch said there are seven different convenience centers located throughout the county.
In Lebanon, there are four locations, one at Baird’s Mill Disposal Center at 3761 Murfreesboro Road, one by the fairgrounds at 921 E. Baddour Parkway, one at Martha Disposal Center at 1530 Powell Grove Road and one at Norene Disposal Center at 10684 Cainsville Road.
In Watertown, there are two locations, Statesville Convenience Center at 9290 Statesville Road and Watertown Community Disposal at 235 Commerce Road.
There is also a Suggs Creek Disposal Center in Mt. Juliet at 3519 Stewarts Ferry Pike.
Lynch said each center offers recycling for cardboard, aluminum, tin, newspapers, magazines, metal, refrigerators/freezers, batteries, plastic jugs, soda bottles and carpet padding.
“Each center is just drop-offs, and you haul your recyclables up there,” Lynch said. “Some of the recycling can be sold, and there’s some can’t.”
Use of the convenience centers are for Wilson County residents only. Other regulations for the centers include no commercial waste; no trailers over 8’ or box trucks; no hazardous materials such as paint, oil, fuel or propane tanks; no brush, limbs, grass, shrubs or wire; no construction or remodeling waste such as drywall, lumber, bricks, blocks, rocks, dirt or roofing shingles; and there is a limit of 10 bags of kitchen waster or three cubic yards of bulky waste. Scavenging is not allowed in any of the convenience centers.
For additional recycling, there is a bin in the Kroger parking lot located at 1418 W. Main Street in Lebanon for the recycling of newspapers, aluminum and plastic.
According to Lynch, the Wilson County Landfill recycles E-Waste, which includes computers, televisions, microwaves, printers, etc. The landfill also recycles paint and tires for Wilson County residents only.
The Wilson County landfill is open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 378 Dump Rd. in Lebanon.
The Wilson County Solid Waste Department takes care of the seven convenience centers in the county, as well as the county landfill.
In an effort to keep the county clean, the Lebanon Beautification Commission and Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Wilson County Stormwater groups are again holding the “Think Green, Think Clean!” youth litter challenge and recycling carnival.
The event, now in it’s sixth year, is set to take place Saturday, with more than 1,000 kids from area schools picking up litter across the community from 9 a.m. until noon.
Schools participating this year include Byars Dowdy Elementary, Carroll-Oakland Elementary, Castle Heights Elementary, Coles Ferry Elementary, Elzie D. Patton Elementary, Lebanon High School, Sam Houston Elementary, Walter J. Baird, West Wilson Middle School, Wilson Central High School and Winfree Bryant Middle School. Cumberland University students will also participate, along with a team of 35 volunteers from Bridgestone.
“The event is designed to instill the importance of protecting our environment and keeping a litter-free community,” said Richard Baldwin, Lebanon stormwater coordinator.
Through this weekend’s cleanup competition, schools will be competing for monetary prizes and each winning school will then be required to invest their prize money toward a beautification project like a rain or butterfly garden, bio-swales or other environmental enhancement projects.
Officials estimate more than 12,000 pounds of litter will be collected this year.
Recycling sponsors for the event include Green Monster and Bridgestone.
Following the clean up Saturday morning, a recycling carnival will be held at the fairgrounds from noon until 2 p.m. Lunch and activities will be provided for participants.