COLUMN: Unlikely partners team up for worthy cause

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By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em …
You probably didn’t see this coming.
The Anderson News and the fiscal court have teamed up (hard to believe, I know) in an effort to promote the county’s ever-improving recycling effort.
On Dec. 20, our Monday paper (The Anderson News Extra) will include a flyer spelling out all of the times, dates, etc., to have your recyclables alongside the road.
There are some specific requests being made by the county, including that those outside the city bag their items. The reason for the bags is that to conserve fuel, the county doesn’t collect items outside of the city with its large trash truck. That’s done with a pickup, and loose items tend to blow out and end up scattered along the roads.
There will be plenty more information available on that flyer, which is being inserted by us at no cost to the fiscal court. In other words, it isn’t costing the taxpayer a dime.
I have a strong belief that is shared by the people with whom I work that recycling and being good stewards of the environment are basic core values to which we should all adhere.
The Anderson News makes concerted efforts to consider natural resources whenever possible, including printing our products on 100 percent recycled newsprint.
Papers we don’t sell or distribute are then put to good use by the never-ending stream of people looking to use them in every conceivable manner. We’ve had people pick them up to use for obvious purposes such as wrapping items during a move. And, as you wits out there will certainly say, to line their cat boxes and bird cages. But we’ve also had some creative uses, including as mulch in flowerbeds and one person who collected them for months and converted them into blown insulation.
If nothing else, all of us here at The Anderson News hope that flyer will serve as a reminder to those who do recycle on occasion, as well as a wake-up for those who don’t.
We live in a gloriously beautiful place, and every can, bottle or paper product that is recycled is one less in the landfill on Highway 151, or lying in a ditch.
Let’s all do what we can to preserve what we have.

Now, for those who think I’ve gone all soft and cuddly, read on. It’s Christmastime, so here I’ll mix a little naughty with my nice.
Following some remarkably uninformed comments during last week’s fiscal court meetings by a magistrate who figured it was good form to badmouth a local business (us) by questioning the effectiveness of our print products, allow me to offer a teachable moment.
A survey done recently by the National Newspaper Association proved what we already knew, that community newspapers such as ours remain incredibly strong, valuable products.
Here are the results:
73 percent of those surveyed read a local newspaper each week.
Those readers, on average, share their paper with 3.34 people.
They spend about 37.5 minutes reading their local newspapers.
78 percent read most or all of their community newspapers.
41 percent keep their community newspapers six or more days (shelf life).
62 percent of readers read local news very often in their community newspapers, while 54 percent say they never read local news online (only 9 percent say they read local news very often online).
39 percent of those surveyed read local education (school) news very often in their newspapers, while 67 percent never read local education news online.
30 percent read local sports news very often in their newspapers, while 67 percent never read local sports online.
35 percent read editorials or letters to the editor very often in their newspapers, while 74 percent (nearly three quarters) never read editorials or letters to the editor online.
Enjoy your retirement, sir.