Ornaments from recycled material make Courthouse Christmas Tree shine

Hundreds of Christmas ornaments that adorn the tree in the lobby of the Jefferson County Courthouse all have one thing in common: They all are made from recyclable materials like plastic bottles, paper sacks, and pictures cut from coloring books.

On Friday, Santa Claus and Recycling Rex, who represents the Jefferson County Recycling Department, showed up to greet some of the children who made the ornaments, bringing cookies, popcorn and punch with them.

“It just shows what kids can do,” County Judge Dutch King said of the ornaments, which were created by school children from throughout the county. “”It makes you really proud of them and their efforts.”

King said he and employees of the county recycling department have been busy at schools in both Pine Bluff and White Hall, spreading the message that recycling is important.

“We appreciate all the teachers who let us come to their classrooms,” King said. “We’ve shaken a lot of hands and talked to a lot of people about recycling.”

King’s legislative assistant, Daniel Marks, AKA Santa Claus, said the Friday event was another in a series of events designed to raise awareness of recycling in general, and particularly with young people.

“We’ve been working with the schools and we’re going to actively start trying to collect more of their recyclable materials in the future,” he said.

Marks credited King with the idea of decorating the tree with recyclable ornaments. He said he was glad that the county bought a big tree this year.

“I’ve been here two years and this is the biggest response we’ve ever had for ornaments to decorate the tree,” Marks said.

King, who is finishing his first year as county judge, said a number longtime courthouse employees have told him that this year’s tree with its decorations is the prettiest they have ever seen in the building.

“And every ornament on that tree was made with love,” King said.

For information about recycling programs, contact Marks at 870-541-5360.