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A man recycling a bag of shredded paper

ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people have spent their extra time at home cleaning their garages, closets, medicine cabinets, storage sheds and more. During a community-wide shred day event in Morgan County, Allyson Shabel, an Alabama Extension natural resources urban regional agent, said this statement proved to be true based on the number of items dropped off for recycling or disposal. With an increase in people clearing out household items, the services a shred day offers are even more important.

Shred Day Services

Karnita Garner, an Alabama Extension environmental specialist, said shredding events are critical to communities that want to be eco-friendly and to safeguard people’s identities.

“In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission reported 650,572 cases of identity theft, which surpassed all other fraud complaints,” Garner said. “Their data further suggests that providing a secure way for residents to dispose of important documents is essential. Shred days offer this service and so much more.”

Garner said a recent shred day hosted by the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University and the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) provided these services to the community.

“While following COVID-19 safety protocols, the event offered vital services that included drug take-back, e-waste recycling and paper shredding services by Document Destruction Services,” Garner said.

Impacts of COVID-19

Recycling efforts have taken a huge hit during COVID-19. However, Shabel said the event in Morgan County revealed positive impacts on people’s desire to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“Last year, people turned in 110 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications,” Shabel said. “Additionally, the event recycled 1,200 pounds of electronics and shredded 7,000 pounds of documents. In 2020, those figures tripled.”

During the three-hour event, approximately 409 cars participated in the drive-thru with help from more than 25 volunteers. The 2020 shred day numbers revealed

  • 378 pounds of medications collected, indicating a 244 percent increase
  • 3,000 pounds of electronics recycled, representing a 150 percent increase
  • 13,000 pounds of documents shredded, reflecting an increase of 86 percent

Shabel, who helped plan the event, was also supported by other Alabama Extension staff, including urban economics and community development regional extension agent, Marcus Garner.

More Information

Shred days give citizens the opportunity to recycle or dispose of waste responsibly, creating safe homes and communities. Visit the Alabama Extension Natural Resources page to learn more about environmental stewardship.

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