What began in 2009 as a leadership project for one young 4-H girl was so successful that the Stephens County 4-H youth are doing it again this year.

On Saturday, 30 to 40 youth, along with plenty of adults, will be accepting items for recycling at the Claud Gill Arena. The event is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Kimbreley Davis, 4-H Youth Development Educator, expects it to be a busy day. She gauges that on the turnout from last year.

“Right now, it is so important to the kids to let people know. This was Kelsey Shackelford’s project last year.”

Shackelford recorded everything in her record book, which was judged at the state level and she took top honors on that.

“A big portion (of her book) was the Recycle Day project,” Davis said.

“Our (youth) team leaders voted to keep it going. It serves a service to the community.”

And as hard as the children work, some might think there is a monetary payoff at the end, but no, Davis said.

“This is 100 percent as a service to our community. We are not in this to make money. This is something our kids find very important and realize there is a need in our community. They have been working hard.”

Davis said all of the youth take part in planning and working. That starts with the youth lining up the companies that will collect the product that will be recycled. Much of it is staying local or regional, within southern Oklahoma. Duncan’s 4D plant will take the tires that are collected; Winton Automotive in Waurika will collect the used motor oil; and Sander’s Salvage in Velma will recycle the metal and car batteries donated on Recycle Day.

A sanitation service from Lawton will recycle all paper and plastic.

“The kids handle all the scheduling and I call and confirm closer to the day,” Davis said.

Davis said the project has also proved to be a unifying one.

“All of the county in some way contributes. We also had two Boy Scout Troops last year. It was neat that we crossed over and worked with another organization,” she said.

During the first Recycle Day program in 2009, Davis said the volume of product collected was amazing.

“The kids unloaded cars (and trucks) and we took in over 200 gallons of used motor oil, four trailer loads of tires, glass, quite a bit of metal. We were shocked to see how many people brought in aluminum cans.”

She said this year, they will not be accepting paint and she is still searching for a dealer who will accept used electronics (computer monitors).

“Our problem is with electronics that our community is facing. There are hundreds of these on the shelf,” she said.

She said that has proven difficult and those that she did find want $5 for each item recycled. Since this is a community service, that would not be an option. She said they are accepting small household batteries and car batteries.

“All of this will be recycled, 100 percent of it. That was really important.”

Davis said the recycling day program gives the youth a service project, helps the community/county residents clean up items that are hard to dispose of, and also benefits the businesses which participate and have the means to recycle the items.

For information, call Davis at 580-255-0510.

— Toni Hopper is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. She can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 132 or by e-mail at: toni.hopper@duncanbanner.com.

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