PITTSBURG — The Southeast Kansas Recycling Center is giving people a discount for being environmentally friendly on Earth Day.

The SEK Recycling Center is hosting a free paper shredding day Saturday in honor of Earth Day. People can bring in sensitive documents and have the first 25 pounds shredded at no cost. All additional pounds will cost 25 cents per pound — the center’s usual rate for shredding.

“We’re trying to do something for Earth Day and get folks in the door,” Operations Manager Jerry Babcock said. “Once people get in the door and see what all we can do — what all products we will take — they often come back.”

The SEK Recycling Center not only takes paper, but glass, metals, plastics, e-waste and more. The center operates as a non-profit organization, and while they offer the Earth Day shredding every year, residents are recommended to bring all their recyclables to the center.

Board of Directors Chairman and CEO Jim Triplett said the SEK Recycling Center may be the most diversified in the state.

“Our primary mission is to divert waste from the landfill,” Triplett said. “So we take everything, and a lot of places aren’t doing that anymore.”

He has also seen a problem with community awareness surrounding the center.

“Probably not a day goes by that we are open that someone doesn’t drive through and say ‘I didn’t even know this was here,’” Triplett said.

Anyone can drop off recyclables at the center when it is open, but it also offers memberships. Members can bring recyclables any day, get their first 25 pounds of paper shredded anytime, and much more.

The center also features a New-to-You Reuse Shop at the north end of the facility, and has created a Thrift Shop Alliance in the area.

The Thrift Shop Alliance partnership has spread beyond Pittsburg to Girard, Parsons, Mound City and Grove, Oklahoma. As part of the partnership, the SEK Recycling Center encourages people to take rewearable clothing to the Doggie Bag, Four Paws, St. Mary’s Goodwill or the Storehouse in Pittsburg. Even if they cannot sell the items, the SEK Recycling Center will purchase them.

Triplett said folks can also take advantage of curbside pick-up through the center’s partnership with Pittsburg Recycling Connection. For more information, contact Ben Butler at 620-238- 1892.

Triplett has been involved with solid waste management and sustainability for many years. He even started a bachelor’s degree in sustainability at Pittsburg State University during his time as chair of the biology department.

Along with the SEK Recycling Center’s Earth Day efforts, PSU is also hosting several events. Triplett helps sponsor Students for Sustainability at PSU, which showed “Oklahoma Shakedown” — a film about fracking and seismic activity on Tuesday.

Students also hosted several events Wednesday in celebration of Earth Week, including a free yoga session.

At 1 p.m. Friday, Craig Wolfe, president of the Heartland Renewable Energy Society and a longtime Sierra Club speaker, will present “The Climate Emergency: The Case for Immediate Action.” His presentation will include live, original music and a video. The lecture and discussion take place in the Governor’s Room of the Overman Student Center.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the movie “Love Thy Nature” will be shown on the Jungletron at Carnie Smith Stadium. Narrated by Liam Neeson, “Love Thy Nature” attempts to convey the beauty and intimacy of the relationship that humans have with the natural world and suggests that a renewed connection with nature may hold the key to solving our climate crisis.

All events at PSU are free and open to the public.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.