"Part of the reason for being a part of a Venture crew is to find ways to resolve problems in your community, Harrell said, so she came up with the idea of establishing a plastic water bottle recycling drop-off site in Cross Lanes.
"I thought having it in a community that has no recycling program, and locating it at the church where we meet, would be a good idea, so I made a few calls and got things started," she said.
By early Monday afternoon, Harrell and fellow members of her Venture crew had collected and crushed several thousand empty water bottles. The plastic containers will be taken to the West Virginia Recycling Services to begin their journey into being converted into new plastic, fibers for clothing, paint, car seat covers and other items.
"With three kids and dogs, we go through a lot of bottles," said Debbie Pauley, of Cross Lanes, who dropped off six bags of empty water containers at the Cross Lanes church.
Pauley said she learned about the Cross Lanes drop-off point while picking up new cases of water from a distribution center at Cross Lanes Volunteer Fire Department.
"I was happy to learn that someone was doing something to recycle these bottles," she said." I'm going to tell everybody I know they can come here to recycle."
"After we're gone and back in school, we're hoping to keep this collection bin open, and maybe set up some other bins at water distribution sites," Harrell said.
Also on Monday, officials at Charleston Town Center Mall challenged the mall's 52 teen volunteers -- members of the mall's Teen Board for high school students and Junior Board for middle school students -- to collect as many empty water bottles as possible by Jan. 19. Members of the winning board will receive a pizza party courtesy of the mall.
"This is certainly an appropriate time to remind our teens as well as the public of the importance of recycling," said Lisa McCracken, Town Center's marketing director.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.