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Hall County goes pink to promote recycling, fighting breast cancer
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Karsten Rohring takes his recyclables to the newly painted container at the Sardis Road compactor site. “I’m from Europe,” he said, “they (recycle) in Europe.” - photo by NAT GURLEY

Hall County recycling bins are turning bright pink to promote recycling, and some residents said they like the change.

There’s already one bin in use and one more on the way.

The county Solid Waste Department cleans the containers, paints them pink and draws and paints a tree, a recycling symbol and the words “Please Recycle” along the side. At the end of the bins is a pink-ribboned plea supporting the effort to find a cure for breast cancer.

The bins also have signs saying recycling is everyone’s responsibility and that recycling is a way to protect the environment for children.

“I think it will make people more aware of the recycling bin with it being that bright color because it draws attention,” said Flowery Branch resident Jeannie Hooks, who saw it for the first time Tuesday at the compactor site off Gaines Ferry Road.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the message won’t change in future months, said Johnnie Vickers, county solid waste director. Pink ribbons often signify fighting breast cancer.

Vickers said the department was trying to make people notice the bins so they would recycle more and decided to combine both messages.

“I grant you when it goes down the road, you’ll notice it,” Vickers said. “With the public’s input in looking at and seeing it, I think it will catch their eye more, make them a little more aware of what’s going on; that we’re trying to be more environmentally (conscious), trying to recycle more and save our landfill.”

Hall County went from collecting about 3,500 tons in fiscal year 2012 to more than 5,000 tons in fiscal year 2013. The intake of glass and plastic increased more than 100 tons, and steel intake rose more than 30 tons over the past year. Aluminum stayed relatively flat.

County staff members hope to specifically increase recycling plastic by the publicity campaign, adding more heft to the department’s revenue stream.

The pictures on the finished bin were drawn by Bobby Purdum, resource recovery superintendent, and then painted using inmate labor. The department is at work on one more bin, which takes about 10 days to complete. Purdum also designed some decals for the bins that say where plastic, aluminum and glass go. The county streamlined its recycling bins more than a year ago to make the process more convenient for residents. Updating the bins costs about $600 each.

“The idea behind the pink (bin) was to catch the public’s eye,” Purdum said. “We wanted something bright.”

The current painted bin is being rotated between the county compactor sites off Sardis Road, Gaines Ferry Road and Blackshear Place off Atlanta Highway.

Some residents at the Gaines Ferry site agreed that while it’s eye-catching, it’s a message they already know and follow.

“What would you call that, shocking pink?” resident Lee Miller said, laughing. “I noticed it right away. I already knew it was a recycling bin even before when it was unpainted, so I didn’t need that message.”

Flowery Branch resident Sue Sysol said she likes the new look, but isn’t sure about the pink. She said the people at the Gaines Ferry compactor site already do a good job of recycling.

“It’s a lot better than the green (colored bin) that was there,” she said. “It’s definitely nice,” she said.

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