Barry County goes green

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Based on stories we've covered over the past few months, I'd say Barry County is "greening up." We have witnessed a sudden rise in opportunities for area residents to be kinder to their environment and save valuable resources in the process. If you haven't paid attention to this trend, let us remind you of some of these "green" efforts.

One of this area's longest running recycling programs is offered in the Purdy community. The Purdy Recycling Program, sponsored by the Purdy Spanish Club, has been operating since January of 2006 and just last month was recognized as the "Outstanding School Recycling Program" by the Missouri Recycling Association. The group is still working to obtain its own recycling building and in the meantime offers a recycling drop-off site for county residents on the first Saturday morning of every month. This year, the group has collected nearly 100,000 pounds of recyclable materials.

Another school-related recycling option is offered in Exeter. The Exeter FFA and Exeter High School Student Council operate a recycling center on the R-VI campus. The center is open on Saturdays throughout the year and is supported through a grant with some additional funding help approved by the local school board.

In June, this newspaper reported on a new opportunity for area residents to recycle asphalt shingles offered by Hutchens Construction. The company now offers shingle recycling services at three of its Barry County locations. Instead of disposing of shingles in a landfill, area residents can now take their shingles to Hutchens, which in turn recycles them into liquid paving material.

Another area business that is promoting a more-eco friendly Barry County is Barry Electric. The local cooperative is offering its members information on improving energy efficiency in their homes, and in May, hosted a huge customer appreciation event that gave its members the opportunity to pick up free compact fluorescent light bulbs. Over 1,500 attended the event and 8,300 bulbs were handed out. According to Barry Electric officials, the increased use of compact fluorescent bulbs by its members should produce a sizable load reduction for the local cooperative. This effort was motivated by the Barry Electric Board of Directors' desire to offset rising electricity costs by offering customers energy efficiency options.

Shell Knob is also joining the green movement. On July 1, Barton's Lumber in Shell Knob began serving as a year-round household chemical waste disposal site. Through a grant from the District N Solid Waste Board, Barton's will be able to accept a large list of chemicals that typically pose a disposal challenge for area citizens. This is a great service being offered by an eco-conscious company.

We also should note that several municipalities provide curbside recycling service for their residents as part of the cities' trash service contracts. This is a service that is provided free to citizens, and we hope they are taking advantage of this opportunity.

We're sure there are other "green" programs operating in the Barry County area. If you know of one, please let us know by visiting our website at www.cassville-democrat.com and providing that information in the comments section connected to this editorial, which will be posted on-line.