From plastic bottles to park benches and tables: Smyrna seeks help with recycling campaign

Ben Mace
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Smyrna Council members are recruiting volunteers to turn plastic bottles into benches and picnic tables for town parks.

Recycle Smyrna Red is the campaign organized by councilwomen Valerie Forbes, Tabitha Gott and Maggie Mann.

“Hopefully we can collaborate with the community and work on a project that will benefit the future of our town,” said Forbes. “We’ve had really good response from community. My grandchildren are helping. They like it, because they’re part of a something, part of the mission, and they’ll be able to see the fruits of their labor.”

Gott said the idea for the project came from the women legislators convention she attended with Forbes and Gott.

“They showed us really neat playground equipment made from recycled plastics,” said Gott. “We thought this would be a great way to show residents practical benefits of recycling.”

Among the volunteers sorting plastic bottles for the Recycle Smyrna Red campaign May 6 are, from left, Richard Jaquette, Bradley Gosch and Samantha Sawyer from American Legion Ambulance 64.

Their goal is to redeem enough plastic bottles and caps for two red benches and three red wheelchair accessible picnic tables from Eco Plastic Products of Wilmington. The company accepts sorted plastics and gives credit for the weight. Credits can be redeemed for the equivalent weight of products made of recycled plastics. A park bench weighs 127 pounds and a wheelchair-accessible picnic table weighs 230 pounds, so the campaign organizers hope to collect 944 pounds of plastic bottles and lids.

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Community volunteers are helping to sort the bottles and lids. Joining Forbes, Gott and Mann at the first plastic sorting session May 6 were Richard Jaquette, Samantha Sawyer and Bradley Gosch from American Legion Ambulance 64, along with Kayla and Lydia Dean, Paige Buchanan, Raven and Amelia Gurczenski and Chris Mann.

Volunteers work with Smyrna Council members Valerie Forbes, Tabitha Gott and Maggie Mann to sort plastic bottles for the Recycle Smyrna Red campaign May 6 at the Smyrna Public Works facility.

“We’re hoping to achieve more awareness of how much plastic we consume,” said Mann. “When people see the sheer volume of plastic we collect for this project, we hope they’ll consider that in their purchases and leave a better world for our kids and grandkids.”

She said she tried to go to zero waste from her home a couple years ago.

“I was not successful, but I made a lot of important changes like using reusable silicon bags, and I’m not purchasing as much plastic. I’m looking for alternatives,” she said.

How to participate in Recycle Smyrna Red

1. Collect plastic bottles.

2. Remove lids.

3. Rinse bottles.

4. Put lids in a separate bag from the bottles.

5. Drop off bottles and lids at the town hall, 27 S. Market Street Plaza, during business hours Monday through Friday.

Volunteers needed

Individuals and groups interested in sorting bottles should call Valerie Forbes, 302-423-6516, or Tabitha Gott, 302-750-5606.

Reach reporter Ben Mace at rmace@gannett.com.