UNSUNG HERO: Andy Lamont creates recycle drop off site for Bento - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Andy Lamont creates recycle drop off site for Benton

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BENTON -- A Franklin County man is helping thousands in his community while doing his part to protect the environment.

Ever since the city of Benton has been without a regular recycling program, he's used family owned property as a drop off site and it's a service the city and many residents are grateful for.

Every day, Andy Lamont collects, sorts, and bails items used for recycling.
"We're just trying to provide a secondary outlet for those materials to go so they don't end up in a landfill," said Andy.     

He said last Spring, city leaders shut down the recycling program after years of failed attempts to maintain it.

"That would fill up quickly. They had some people abusing it, dropping things off that weren't allowed." 

So, in the Fall, Andy decided to try, using property behind the Benton Save-A-Lot, the family-owned business, as his drop-off site.    

"Occasionally, we'll have some of our stock crew out here. They're on the clock. The store is paying them. They'll help me kind of sort this. Granted, this is not a store-run thing so the store is just doing us and the town a favor," said Andy. 

He uses the store's baler to help smash the cardboard and plastic. He also began using his Facebook page as a way to educate and get the word out. Through donations from his Go Fund Me Page, Andy was able to buy a glass crushing machine. 

"I didn't know that we could recycle glass here. So once I started watching his videos and see that now I keep my jars and different things," said Lennie Shelton. 

Lennie Shelton works as the Executive Director for the Benton-West City Chamber of Commerce.    

"He saw that he had an opportunity and a means and he put it to work. And anytime that a young person can do that, I think they're deserving of a little recognition."

She looked Andy up on social media after taking multiple calls from residents and business owners asking for a place to take their recyclables. She hopes Andy gets enough donations to help him get that second baler.

"We appreciate everything that he's doing. We definitely appreciate that he's created this area here, where we can come and bring our recyclable," said Lennie. 
For Andy, that is what it's all about.

"We needed to recycle and I'm passionate about it, so here we are," added Andy. 

He also has set up surveillance cameras to help deter abuse. For more information click here. For more on the cost of a second baler click here.

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