By Alex Haglund
If something seems a little different in front of the Washington County Courthouse, that’s because it is. The park benches and trash cans facing towards St. Louis Street (IL 15) there are newly installed and were purchased, or rather, created, with the aid of the Nashville Eager Beavers 4-H Club.
The sturdy and heavy duty benches and trash can housings actually were once plastic soft drink bottle caps.
“We collected the bottle caps, and then once we got enough, we took them to Indiana to get them recycled, melted down and turned into the plastic for the benches,” said Cody Bevil, the president of the Eager Beavers. “We had the whole county, even places outside of the county backing us up and getting caps for us.”
The Eager Beavers brought in more than 2,500 pounds of the caps over the last two years.
About 400 pounds of the caps are needed for each bench, which are heavy enough that, “it took four guys to put them in,” said Rhonda Mueller, a 4-H leader with the Washington County Extension Center.
The company that made the benches specializes in working with non-profit and youth groups, and the benches were not as expensive as some, but they weren’t free either. Each cost about $225, and the Eager Beavers sought donations which let them cover the cost of one bench.
A later donation helped to purchase the two trash cans, but the other three benches were purchased thanks to the City of Nashville, a measure which the City Council approved at their last October meeting.
At noon on Saturday, December 3, Nashville Mayor Raymond Kolweier and City Council member Joshua Fark joined the Eager Beavers and their adult leaders to dedicate the benches.
“It’s a good project,” Kolweier told the Eager Beavers. “It beautifies this area here. Those old benches were good in their day, but they served their purpose.”
These benches are not the only or the first bottle cap-based project that the Eager Beavers have undertaken.
“We’ve got a bench down at the fairgrounds and we’ve got a picnic table down at the park,” said Bevil. The picnic table was vandalized, but owing to the material’s durability, it was fairly easy to clean and restore to good condition.
“We thank you all for the work you’ve done,” said Kolweier. “I know you want to continue to do things for different places and that’s wonderful – we need more people like you guys.”