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Coca-Cola grant helps recycling efforts in Carnegie parks

| Friday, June 23, 2017, 7:18 p.m.

The large numbers of water and soft drink bottles used during ball games throughout Carnegie's parks now can help the environment.

Thirty recycling bins were placed throughout the borough's parks in May, after the borough received the Keep America Beautiful public space recycling bin grant through Coca-Cola.

“It's pretty exciting that we received it,” Mayor Jack Kobistek said. “It will help us promote more recycling around the community. But this is just a start.”

Borough leaders, including Kobistek, applied several times unsuccessfully for the grant, before they were awarded it in November 2016.

In total, the Keep America Beautiful grant will provide 996 bins to local governments and nonprofit organizations, along with 3,522 recycling bins to colleges and universities. The recycling bins are made possible through a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company.

Kobistek said he thinks recycling is important for the community.

“This allows us to put recycling bins in the borough building and community parks, which makes them more eco-friendly,” he said. “It also says something about your community. It says, ‘Look, we want to be proactive, look we want to be earth friendly.' ”

The borough is required under the state Department of Environmental Protection's Municipal Waste Planning Recycling Reduction Act to provide recycling for residents, leaders said. They wanted to ensure their parks also met the requirements of the act, and therefore, sought the recycling bins for the public spaces.

The bins were placed in Carnegie Park, Chioda Park, Seventh Avenue Park and the Irishtown Tot Lot. The borough's public works department is responsible for emptying the bins.

The parks are an ideal place to have the recycling bins, Kobistek said.

With Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark, located in Carnegie Park, along with the borough's ball fields, there's a lot of empty bottles being tossed in the trash, he said.

“We have a captive audience with the park and the skate park,” he said. “You just go through so much plastic. There's tons of bottles. There's water, soda, Mountain Dew and whatever they use to stay hydrated. They just all end up in the trash. We're just trying to get people used to the idea that we have the bins.”

Kobistek worked with the Carlynton School District to have elementary students create artwork that will be used for signage in the parks to promote recycling and anti-littering. A finalist has yet to be named in the contest.

The mayor reiterated that this is just a start, though. He hopes to someday see “nice, well designed” recycling bins in Carnegie's business district.

“If everybody does a little part, we all become more sustainable,” he said. “We need to keep moving forward and become more eco-friendly.”

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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