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Denim recycling drive expanded to shoes

The 10-year-old Jerusalem Township boy who has headed up two annual drives for jeans to be turned into insulation is collecting both denim items and spent shoes this year.

Erek Hansen, who first helped collect 1,684 denim items in 2009 after reading about the effort in National Geographic Kids magazine, headed up a collection of 4,154 items last year.

The Jerusalem Elementary fifth grader has been partnering with Cotton Inc., a cotton research and promotion organization that started the denim recycling program in 2006. Insulation made from the recycled denim is donated to homeowners looking to rebuild after a natural disaster.

Erek's efforts have collected enough denim to insulate more than 11 houses, and this year he wants to collect 5,000 denim items.

Erek and his mother, Amy Hansen, are working to see if some of the insulation can be directed to northwest Ohio in areas damaged by tornado-producing storms in June, including Lake Township, they said.

This year, Erek will partner with USAgain to recycle shoes, which can be used to make synthetic turf, playground surfaces, and other items. First Solar Inc. in Perrysburg Township will again be Erek's shipping sponsor.

Erek's denim and shoe collections will be:

● May 14, noon to 6 p.m. Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania.

● June 4, noon to 6 p.m. Town Center at Levis Commons, Perrysburg, in front of the cinemas.

● June 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Future Wave, 3324 Navarre Ave., Oregon.

Owens Community College's Environmental Club also is collecting denim that will be presented to Erek for his drive.

Until May 6, denim items can be dropped off on the Perrysburg Township campus at the Student Health and Activities Center, Health Technologies Hall, College Hall Bookstore, Founders Hall, and the Library.

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