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The Expo Center was packed on Saturday with families, friends, businesses, organizations and individuals for the 8th Annual Earth Day Celebration. This event is the largest Earth Day event in Northwest Indiana and the brainchild of the Porter County Waste Reduction District of Porter County. Three building were filled with volunteers, interactive displays, patrons, demonstrations and other entertainment, activities for all ages, food and drink, and exhibitors. All of this in the name of environmental-consciousness.

One of the businesses there was Metro Recycling  A prosperous name in the community that specializes in making recycling scrap metal and other materials easier and more profitable for their consumers. They have three locations in Northwest Indiana and Illinois (Valparaiso, Griffith and Blue Island) and they continue to grow and contribute to the local community. Their booth wasn't hard to miss when you walked in to the room. Scrappy, Metro Recycling's mascot was there. He was happily playing with the kids and handing out high-fives and hugs to all the patrons. Here's something of note: Scrappy was recently named the winner of Waste and Recycling News 2013 Mascot Madness competition!

"I'm loving this event. This is the first time we've taken part in it," LaRae Dykstra, Marketing Manager for Metro Recycling said. "We have Scrappy here and we're having a lot of fun. We gave away t-shirts, coloring books, mugs, brochures, and we're promoting educational tours of our facilities and school presentations. We think it's important for the community to know how important it is to recycle and ???Go Green'. We only have one planet and one shot so taking care of it today will make for a brighter future. And from April 22-27 we' accepting cans for 10 cents more. No coupons necessary. And we're also giving seven cents more for copper items."

It was great to see so many people come out to learn and support a good idea. Everyone had a good time as there were so many things to see and do such as: multiple entertaining shows, a Bike Bingo Drawing, crafts, School Rain Barrel Contest, free giveaways, and a silent auction. Opportunity Enterprises had their Secure Shred truck in the parking lot of the fairgrounds offering free document destruction and recycling, Indiana 105 was there as was Radio Disney, participants could ride in NIPSCO's electronic vehicles, the Department of Public Works of Hobart was recycling paint that people brought in, and free seedlings were given away just in time for Arbor Day! Holy cannoli that's a lot of great stuff!

"Basically, this is a celebration for all of the residents to enjoy as families and they can learn how they can better take care of the environment," Therese Davis, Executive Director for the Waste and Reduction District of Porter County, said. "So we have vendors here providing services to everyone, we also have nonprofits here that take care of the environment and business selling products to help that are recycled or upcycled. There are a variety of ways that people can help and be better to the environment and that can learn about it here. The turnout this year has been very good. In the past we've had over 4,000 people and we're well on our way to that."

The Lake County and La Porte County Waste Districts were there as well helping with the event as well. It was a great time and a great success for all involved. Be on the lookout for a bigger and better event next year!

Major Sponsors for the event include: Metro Recycling, NIPSCO, Indiana Dunes Tourism, Valparaiso Values, Lakeshore Public Television.

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