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2017 Earth Day Celebration to add Reuse Fair


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Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is adding a new feature to the Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration; a Reuse Fair.

On the heels of a successful first reuse event last fall, this second endeavor will benefit 13 schools and organizations. The public is invited to come and donate their unwanted but usable items on the advertised wish list and then stay to enjoy the family-friendly exhibits and entertainment the rest of the Earth Day Celebration has to offer.

The 12th Annual Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration will take place on the same day as the nationally-recognized Earth Day, April 22, and run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Rd., Valparaiso.

“Reuse is great for the environment, and the fair is a perfect addition to the Earth Day Celebration,” said Donna Stuckert, public education coordinator for Porter County Recycling.

“It saves these organizations and schools money, so they don’t have to buy things; lessens the demand to manufacture new materials, which can deplete our limited and valuable natural resources; diverts items from landfills; and gives people a reason to spring clean,” she added.

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“Portage High School really benefited from the reuse fair,” said Paula Wiese, art/photography teacher, of the event last fall. “Originally we were just looking for old cameras for our students to use at school. It turned out people were so generous with their donations. They gave us paints of all kinds, brushes, markers, colored pencils, and other art supplies.”

“The community is so helpful to upcycle supplies that are too good to throw away,” Wiese continued. “No one wants to put things in the landfill when it's not necessary.”

The wish list can be downloaded from www.PorterCountyRecycling.org, and lists dozens of items, from art supplies, to buttons, to Legos, to PVC pipe and much more.

Items on the wish list will benefit these Northwest Indiana schools and organizations: Banta Senior Center, Feline Community Network, First Christian Church (DOC), Henry P. Fieler Elementary School, Gabriel’s Horn, John Simatovich Elementary School, Kesling Middle School, Kouts Elementary School, Michigan City High School, Open Arms Animal Rescue, Opportunity Enterprises, Washington Park Zoo and Working Bikes.

“We all have things we’ve been saving for whatever reason, just because we don’t want to throw them away,” Stuckert continued. “Here’s an opportunity to make them useful.”

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She said many items on the list are things we normally throw in our trash or recycle totes, such as plastic coffee containers, newspapers, and plastic cups.

“Start saving today,” she said. “By the time April 22 rolls around, you’ll have a sizable donation to bring.”

Only items on the list will be accepted, and donations will only be accepted at the April 22 event.

“We aren’t trying to be Goodwill or the Salvation Army,” Stuckert said. “We don’t want all of your stuff; only items on the list will be accepted. We reserve the right to inspect and refuse any item.

“Last year we received many calls about where to bring items because residents could not attend the event,” she said. “We absolutely have nowhere to store items donated in advance. If you cannot bring your donation that day, please ask someone who can.”

Pratt Industries will again donate a supply of boxes for the event.

As an added bonus to the reuse theme, the Lake County Solid Waste Management District will hold a Book Swap booth at Earth Day: Give a book to get a book. All ages and all genres in good, reusable condition will be accepted. A late bird special will be held the final hour of the event; give one book and get two, while supplies last.

For more information on the Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration, visit www.PorterCountyRecycling.org, or call 219-465-3819.

Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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