Observe Earth Day on April 22

Submitted by Nancy Gafford

While some of this material may be a repeat of previous information, it’s always good to have a reminder of our responsibility to the environment and Earth Day is a perfect time for that reminder.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Earth Day in Nemaha County is the premier recycling program the county has been fortunate enough to establish. The Nemaha County Recycling program is 27 years old and is the only recycling program in Northeast Kansas to be in continuous existence for that length of time.

In case you’ve forgotten, here are a few quick facts about this outstanding program.

The Nemaha County Recycling Program became an officially organized program run by the county in 1992.

This program, overseen by the county commissioners, is managed by county employee, Dennis Ronnebaum, Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor. He follows in the footsteps of three former supervisors, Doug Jeanneret, David Mee and Matt McFall. Ronnebaum is responsible for all building sites, equipment, and employees as well as finding and securing markets for recycled products.

This program is not-for-profit and since there is such great participation within our population, the county can justify three other full-time employees.

In order for materials to be marketed, they must first be crushed and baled. Balers used over the years were made largely possible by grants from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and kept being useful past their time with our employees’ ingenuity in finding ways to keep broken down balers up and running! A newly acquired baler paid for by Nemaha County and the KDHE Waste Management Division, has greatly improved the efficiency and ease with which product can be handled.

Finally, did you know there is a committee of volunteers who support all these efforts? Until 2017, this committee was led by chairman Eldon Schwant. The committee is desperately in need of some new volunteers. The first requirement for serving on the committee is an interest in recycling.

The committee works on publicizing and encouraging recycling by county residents, writes articles promoting these efforts, raises public awareness through parade floats and other efforts and connects the program to people and resources as needed.  It meets four times a year and the involvement in the community could be minimal to endless as determined by the volunteers and the committee.

If you would consider joining the committee, please call Dennis Ronnebaum at 785-336-2168 or contact a committee member — Mary Jane Schmitz, Karen Holthaus, Donna Ulmer, Bill Kent, Galen Steinlage, Anita Heiman or Nancy Gafford.


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