Earth Day Takes a Break – New Service Offered

     The Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction board agreed to cancel the Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration in April. The Porter County Expo Center, the venue the event has called home since 2012, will be wrapping up major renovations through May and will not be available.
      “We did not find another venue that can accommodate our needs,” said Therese Haller, executive director of Porter County Recycling. “We normally have 70 exhibitors, entertainment, activities, and more than 2,000 attendees.
     “We felt we would alienate many of our faithful vendors and not have adequate space for the festivities many have come to enjoy and expect,” she continued.
      The next Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration is scheduled for April 18, 2020, at the Porter County Expo Center.
      “Next year, we’ll be in a renovated facility with a new sound system, both of which will take the event to a new level,” she said. “We really hope everyone will join us to celebrate the planet and learn how to reduce their impact.”
      In the meantime, Haller suggested everyone take time in April to do something to benefit the environment.
      “The Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration may be on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t commemorate the occasion another way,” she said. “Plant a tree, learn to compost, pick up a green read, host an eco-swap, become a better recycler or clean up litter in your subdivision; these are all great examples of ways to make a difference in the environment.”
     Special event coordinators in Porter County have a free service available to help manage the large amounts of waste their events can create.
     Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction offers a recycling container loan program for churches, schools, towns and anyone planning special events in Porter County to encourage their guests to recycle aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles. Last year, event coordinators using the program collected and recycled a total of 8,260 gallons of beverage containers.
     Loaned recycling containers were used at events in 2018 including: Porter County Master Gardeners 15th Annual Garden  Show; Kankakee Valley REMC Annual Meeting; Ogden Dunes Memorial Day event; Lightning Bug Music Festival; Field Station 5K Frenzy & Fun Run; Portage Relay for Life; Valparaiso International Center World Culture Festival; Art Barn Art Blitz; United Way Family Fun & Field Day and many others including private graduation and birthday parties. The recycling collection containers can be placed next to garbage cans in high traffic areas at events. The district even supplies the clear plastic bags that fit into the collection containers.
     “When presented with the option to recycle their waste, most guests choose to do the right thing,” said Therese Haller, district executive director. “Organizations and individuals without a supply of recycling containers or the money to purchase them need only borrow ours.”
     The containers are perfect to use at fundraisers, church functions, softball tournaments, block parties, family reunions, 5K races, and any gatherings that could potentially generate large amounts of waste from beverage containers. Public events using the containers will also get a publicity boost with an announcement on the district’s Facebook Page.
     No event is too small to borrow the containers. By allowing guests to separate their waste, event organizers can help prevent large amounts of recyclables from ending up in landfills. 
     To borrow the containers, call the district, 219-465-3695, at least one week prior to the event to confirm the availability. Once reserved, renters can download a reservation agreement from the district’s website,, sign the form and return it to the district, so a time can be scheduled to pick up and return the event containers.  More information on the program is available on the district’s website, 
      Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Sue Baxter