04/15/07 — Taking care of the Earth

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Taking care of the Earth

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 15, 2007 2:06 AM

Kheyonna Hightower recycles everything at home and collects soda bottles to help preserve the environment.

The 7-year-old and her mother, Ebonnie, were among those who took part in the first Earth Day celebration at the Wayne County Public Library on Saturday afternoon. Earth Day is officially April 22, but an environmental film was scheduled to show in the Gertrude Weil Auditorium on Saturday, and Recycling Coordinator Simone Cato said she thought it would be a great idea to have an early Earth Day prior to the movie.

The children visiting the Earth Day stations had plenty to do. They made coloring books, got temporary tattoos that would last up to a week if not taken off sooner with rubbing alcohol, made Earth Day bracelets with colored beads that stand for things like trees, soil, the sun, water, air quality and the animals and people who can survive if the natural resources are conserved.

Ms. Cato showed a family entering the auditorium some things made from recycled plastic bottles like a fleece jacket made from 87 percent recycled plastic bottles that have the letters "PET" on them and a piece of carpet that was also made from recycled plastic bottles.

"Fifty percent of the carpet in the United States is made from recycled plastic bottles," she said.

If you buy a red bottle of Tide or a blue bottle of Downy, it's probably been a Tide or Downy bottle before. They're melted down and sent through the process again. Plastic hangers are the same way, she said.

But all plastics are not the same. They all have to be melted down at different temperatures. And although the household recycle bin has them mixed together, the companies that buy them separate them.

Recycling is good for the economy, too, Ms. Cato said. While some jobs are going overseas, recycling jobs have increased by 60 percent over the past year.

Kheyonna's family does their part. She helps her grandmother pick up soda cans, and she helps clean people's yards for them.

"We've got to keep her active," her mother said. "She's young. She can do it."