Giant bags of plastic bottles found along area roadways were turned over to Unifi last week as part of the Yadkin County Beautification Committee’s biannual litter sweep.
Yadkin County Extension Director Colleen Church said the group is hoping to encourage more participation in the spring and fall litter sweep events.
“We’ve been doing them for two years now and we’re trying to get more people to come out,” Church said. Members of the county beautification committee, 4H members and members of the Junior Civitans have helped with the litter sweep in the past, Church said, but any county resident is eligible to participate.
A few weeks ago the group worked on several areas near downtown Yadkinville and the YMCA. All of the plastic bottles they collected during the clean up were then turned over to Unifi to recycle.
Unifi’s Repreve division creates yarn from recycled plastic bottles which is then used in a variety of products. The company not only has a specific division dedicated to creating a sustainable product from recycled materials, but the Yadkinville plant is also landfill free. All of the trash, including food scraps from the cafeteria, are recycled in some way.
Unifi has established itself as an organization hoping to change the future, not only by its environmentally friendly practices, but by teaching others, especially youth, about the importance of recycling.
“The key thing is if we can get kids involved today recycling what will the future be like tomorrow,” asked Unifi Human Resources Manager Smith Williams.
Williams said they give tours to area youth of the plant and occasionally visit classrooms to talk to students about how recycling can have a positive impact on the environment.
“Recycling for us is not only about Repreve, but it’s also about a way of life,” Williams said. “I look at recycling a little bit different. I don’t look at it as just taking something and using it over. I look at it as more upcycling. It’s to take something and make it better. That’s what we’re trying to do, not only with the bottles , but also through Repreve with our, it’s taking something that someone has been thrown away, keeping it out of our environment and turning it into something better whether that be a shirt, a towel, upholstery that goes into furniture or even into car upholstery.”
For additional information about the Yadkin County Beautification Committee, visit their Facebook page or contact the Extension Office at 336-679-2061.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.