Columbus celebrates America Recycles Day
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Columbus celebrates America Recycles Day

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Keep Columbus Beautiful on Friday celebrated America Recycles Day with a water bottle giveaway designed to remind people of the importance of recycling.

Three area gyms, Beast Gym, Anytime Fitness and the Columbus Area YMCA, all participated in the event, where people who came to work out at each of the facilities could take a free reusable water bottle and learn about the advantages of recycling and using recycled products.

Vanessa Oceguera, executive director of Keep Columbus Beautiful, said that the giveaway was something that they could do to not only teach and remind people about the advantages of recycling, but also as a way to keep products like regular plastic water bottles out of landfills.

“We figured, ‘What a great way to capture individuals who are just using daily the plastic water bottles and replacing them (the bottles) with a free, reusable one,” Oceguera said.

Keep Columbus Beautiful representatives had enough water bottles that they decided that Friday would be a good day to give them out. However, they were in need of a distribution site. They found not just one, but three in the Columbus-area gyms, all of which were excited to participate and help out in keeping the community clean.

“I had reached out to Corey Briggs at the YMCA, Cheyenne over at Anytime Fitness and Jeni Bozarth at Beast Gym,” Oceguera said. “Everyone was really grateful and appreciative. Not a lot of people know about America Recycles Day. It’s not as huge as Earth Day - that’s been around forever - but it’s a good day to raise awareness and we wanted to do something different.”

At Beast Gym, more than half of the bottles were taken by the end of the day. Aaron Bozarth, Jeni’s husband and co-manager of Beast Gym, said that they had interest in participating mainly because of all of the water that people drink while working out at their facility.

“We use a lot of water bottles here (even though) we don’t have a water fountain,” Aaron Bozarth said. “Gym members all across the country use water, so it has made sense to have something that made sure that people have water bottles and minimize waste.”

Bozarth said that something like this can help to minimize the impact that empty water bottles, or even half-full water bottles, can have on the planet.

“I’ve worked at different sports camps and being in that environment, how many different water bottles or half-filled water bottles I go dump out every day and throw away,” Bozarth said. “Something like this is a way, even if they’re not drinking the water that they use every day, it’s just one less thing getting thrown away.”

Oceguera expected more than 120 people to take the water bottles from the various locations. Most importantly, she wants people to understand the importance of reusing items instead of just throwing them or other ones away in the garbage.

“I know it’s really tough here in Columbus, but it does help give our trash another life,” Oceguera said. “If it can be turned into something different, instead of just being stockpiled in a landfill, why not recycle? It’s a win-win.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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