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Van Buren man national winner

<p>The bench is made from 100 percent recycled plastic courtesy of Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls.</p>

The bench is made from 100 percent recycled plastic courtesy of Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls.

A Van Buren man was one of 10 nationwide to win a bench made of recycled plastic after pledging to recycle in 2014.

John Vinson was chosen to receive the four-foot park bench after he took a pledge online in November as part of America Recycles Day events.

Vinson made the pledge, but he said it was more to support the efforts of KAB than because of any plans to change how his family recycles.

“It wasn’t really anything different for us because we [recycle] already,” Vinson said.

Vinson and his family began recycling while he was attending University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy in Little Rock 12 years ago, and continued to do so after moving to Van Buren, he said.

Bins in the kitchen keep plastic, aluminum and paper separate, and the family even recycled their Christmas wrapping paper, Vinson said.

They also support the local KAB chapter, Keep Van Buren Beautiful, by making financial donations, he said.

“I think it’s a good lesson to teach our kids,” Vinson said. “We love everything they do to make our community a better place to live.”

As an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, Vinson said it is easy to be motivated to recycle because “we want to keep this place beautiful for our kids.”

Vinson’s bench is made from 100 percent recycled plastic courtesy of Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls, according to an email sent to Vinson by project manager Melissa Adams with Keep America Beautiful. It is one of 10 being sent to random participants of the online pledge event.

Vinson already has spoken to Van Buren Mayor Bob Freeman about donating the bench to the city, he said.

“We don’t know for sure what we’ll do with it, but we’re thinking to put it in one of the city parks - maybe the children’s playground area,” Vinson said.

More than 8,000 people made the pledge to recycle in 2014, according to the America Recycles Day website. To help educate people about how recycled materials can be transformed into “exciting and useful things,” all pledges taken online from Jan. 1, through Nov. 30, were entered into a drawing for one of the 10 benches, according to the website.

“These recycled content park benches are a reminder that material can become something new and valuable when it is recycled,” Adams wrote in her email.

Vinson said he and his family are excited to win the bench and are looking forward to see it get put to good use in Van Buren.

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