Spring 2016 Full Articles

“Paint the Pavement”

Greenwood & Riggs Ave

by Raymond Aldridge

So, what is “Paint the Pavement”? The SWNA Walkability Committee started out trying to get a marked walking lane on the street due to the prohibitive cost involved in putting in sidewalks (about a million dollars a mile by some estimates). We tried several alternative ideas and finally Ben Epperson, Program Manager with the Knox County Health Department, approached us with a possible solution that’s been used in several areas around town called “Paint the Pavement”. With the help of the City of Knoxville, Ben and members of the SWNA Walkability Committee, we’ve been able to bring this project to the brink of fulfillment. We surveyed the residents and received over a 92% favorable response. The order for the logo stencils are just waiting to be placed, the dates for painting finalized and notifications delivered to those street’s residents. We hope for this all to occur in the month of May!

Utilizing a previously created logo (tulip poplar leaf/hummingbird) that SWNA has adopted as kind of a neighborhood logo, we will be painting this logo every 30 or so feet along one side of the road (like on the farthest right side of the lane). The city will be providing the paint for this project. This 24” diameter logo will indicate a walking/biking path used by area residents for getting around without having to drive. Whether for walking to the nearest park, biking to area trails and greenways or just to get out for exercise, we hope that SWNA residents will use these designated pathways for the good of all, our neighborhoods, our city and our planet. These first two streets were chosen for their proximity to Sam Duff Park, South Doyle Middle school and access to retail establishments along Chapman Highway. We hope that residents will get in the habit of strolling to these areas versus firing up their gas powered vehicles for such a short trip.

We will be putting out notices for our “Paint the Pavement” dates through SWNA e-mails and would love to see you all come out to assist and revel in the accomplishment at our celebration upon completion at Sam Duff Park. See you there!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Recycling!

by Raymond Aldridge

Well, not in this article but if you ever wanted to spend an hour or so learning the ins and outs of household recycling, then our field trip to West Rock (formerly Rock TN) Recycling would have been the place to be last month. They are one of the world’s largest recyclers, recovering approximately 7 million tons annually. The SWNA Board of Governors decided to arrange the field trip for any of our members that were interested in going. As a student back in my school days, I always enjoyed a good field trip and jumped at the chance to go onsite of an operating recycling plant. As did 4 other are residents.

Located less than 7 miles from South Knoxville, this facility takes all the household and commercial recycling material from Knoxville and surrounding areas as well as other East TN municipalities as far away as Kingsport. If you place your recyclable materials in a recycling bin for pick-up every other week, take them to a recycling drop off center or drop it into a garbage can identified for recyclables; they go to this facility. It’s a busy place with lots of trucks coming and going.

What was most amazing to me is the technology involved in sorting and processing the numerous materials that are processed by this facility. One process that intrigued me was a specially designed sorting machine utilizing a spectrometer that detected #1 and #2 plastics (water bottles, etc.) and applied a blast of air to blow them off the conveyor belt to be collected separately from other paper and plastics. We learned that flattening these bottles help in the separation process so they won’t be missed due to them rolling out of the targeted blast of air. Those questions all of us recyclers have, like do you recycle the plastic bottle caps or do I have to wash everything clean, were answered during the tour through the plant by our wonderful guide Derek Senter. And you CAN recycle the caps (screw them back on after flattening the bottle) and you DON’T have to thoroughly clean bottles (just a quick rinse) as any remaining product will be removed in the recycling process. For more particulars on recycling go to RecycleBank.com or let us know and we’ll schedule another visit for our members sometime in the future.

EarthFest 2016

by Raymond Aldridge

On a beautiful, sunny (not too warm) and cloudless day the third Sat. in April, three members of SWNA staffed a booth at this year’s EarthFest. We were one of more than sixty plus groups, organizations and vendors at the World’s Fair site in recognition of Earth Day 2016 (actually April 22nd). Sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership, this event is typically attended by more than 5,000 people and is held as a zero waste event. Typically, less than 10 pounds of waste is generated for the 7-hour event. Now that’s quite a feat! With bands and food galore and all the booths there to visit, it was a pleasurable day to learn all the ways to be earth friendly.

We were there representing Wildlife Habitat of South Woodlawn (WHoSW), one of the many sub-groups sponsored by SWNA. We talked to lots of people about how to create a wildlife habitat of their own, how to become a wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and how to become an NWF Wildlife Habitat neighborhood.  We know something about that in having become the first NWF Wildlife Habitat neighborhood in Tennessee. We gave away lots of NWF literature, 50 NWF Wildlife Habitat applications, and dozens of “earth” squeeze balls and superballs. We spoke to more than half a dozen people who currently were current NWF Wildlife Habitat members around the metropolitan area. We hope to have generated enough interest in the citizens of Knoxville to contribute to the city becoming an NWF Wildlife Habitat Community (possibly the first in the state). 

I’ve attended three of these events over the last few years and always enjoy learning something new each time. Not to mention the energy saving lightbulbs, PBA free water bottles, cloth grocery bags and native trees all given away free at these events. If you ever get the chance to attend one of these events in the future, take the time to spend a day with lots of people that care about this planet we live on and are willing to take the time to learn even more ways.