Phone Home

The residents of Greenville, S.C., put aside bricks and mortar and let their fingers do the walking when they helped build a house using old phone books.

As part of the second annual "Phone Book Friday" last fall, Greenville Mall shoppers, BellSouth's Greenville Yellow Pages sales office workers and the Bob Jones University community brought their books to the mall for recycling. The idea was conceived by Melissa Grant, recycling coordinator for Greenville County, to excite and educate residents about recycling.

The plan worked - volunteers stacked three tons of donated phone books, which were then sold to a local paper mill, which donated the profits to Habitat for Humanity.

Everyone who donated books received a prize from mall merchants, Greenville County or BellSouth.

A local Girl Scout troop, which helped with the drive, collected the most old phone books and won a cash prize.

Source: BellSouth newsletter, "Phone Book Roundup"

Smell A Rat? The latest rats in Washington, D.C., have nothing to do with a blonde-haired woman named Linda. They are the small, fat, sharp-toothed rodent kind.

The critters are hanging out across the city in such lush habitats as a park in front of the downtown Four Seasons Hotel and several restaurant alleys in Georgetown. Boarded-up houses, garbage cans and piles of construction debris also have contributed to the swelling rat population.

Enter D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams' Rid-A-Rat, a "28-plank plan" to curtail rat infestation. Crews from the departments of health, public works and consumer and regulatory affairs are inspecting a corridor in each of the city's eight wards, searching for conditions that attract the rodents.

According to one restaurant owner, the rat infestation "is a battle we have been fighting for years, but they keep coming back, and it seems as if it has even gotten worse."

Sounds like a job for Kenneth Starr.

Source: The Washington Post

Touchdown for the Environment The National Football League (NFL) usually evokes images of brutish men in uniforms and helmets going head-to-head to control the pigskin. Who would have thought that they are environmentalists at heart?

Since 1993's Super Bowl XXVII, the NFL has been cleaning up championship games through its Environmental Program. Super Bowl XXXIII at Miami's Pro Player Stadium, held Jan. 31, 1999, was the cleanest ever. According to the organization, 42 percent of the waste stream was diverted from local landfills.

Wonder what happened to all the uneaten hot dogs and popcorn? The Daily Bread Food Bank of South Florida in Miami collected it for shelters, churches and soup kitchens, generating enough for 18,000 meals.

To recycle stadium decorations, the organization divided 1.5 miles of fence wrap among Miami's Metro Zoo and the Miami-Dade and Broward County school systems.

More than 200 other decorative pieces, including heavy waterproof vinyl material, were donated to the Florida Interfaith Networking for Disasters (FIND). FIND helps communities recover after a natural disaster.

In addition, the Zoological Society of Florida provided volunteers to help gather several tons of cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic used by stadium vendors and kitchen facilities.

Source: National Football League

Busted by a Baler Thieves at Century 21 department stores in New York are finding their stolen merchandise looks like Swiss cheese, thanks to a custom-made baler by J.V. Manufacturing, Springdale, Ark.

Before the invention of the new baler, employee criminals hid expensive clothing between layers of cardboard ready to be baled. After the bales were made and thrown into the alley, the thieves would come back, break open the bale and retrieve their goods.

But not anymore.

The new baler has press heads armed with spikes that penetrate the cardboard bales when material is compacted. The cardboard - and anything in between - is riddled with holes.

Source: J.V. Manufacturing