Monday, June 23, 2008

Doing my part... Locally

My husband passed me an article from our small community newspaper last week. First, I should mention he really isn't a reader, so it must have been an excellent article to warrant a reading, circling and passing on. The article described a pilot recycling program called Blue Skies implemented by Allied Waste.

This program - limited to 53 homes in our township - provided each homeowner with a 95-gallon wheeled cart for recyclables. Here's the kicker... This program accepted ALL plastics, even #3 through #7. My god, it does exist! A recycling program like this in our area is like spotting Big Foot! Of course, this was only a pilot program, running for 90 days to measure the materials collected and the consumer's response. However, the response was overwhelming. Here are the facts, by the numbers:

Allied Waste posted a 179% increase in total pounds of recyclables collected - diverting 16,190 pounds of recycling from the landfill. Amazing, considering only 53 homes participated! But, all good things must come to an end. The pilot program ended and, despite the enthusiastic response from the consumer and the satisfaction of Allied Waste, we are waiting on bids, approvals, financials and legal mumbo-jumbo from the township. And, this doesn't even mean that it will actually get approved.

Normally, I would have read the article and thought, what a great program, how sad we can't have it. However, lately every where I turn, I find inspiring political and community activism. Crunchy got me to write to congress about the Farm Bill. And then, after that, she got me to write congress again about drilling for off shore oil. Green Bean works on her city's green task force and is planning a green social movement. I signed the Take Back the Filter petition and wrote 4 letters to Clorox for Fake Plastic Fish and I have a paper envelope (no plastic for Beth!) holding used Brita filters to send her way.

After reading the article in my local paper, I decided it was time for a little activism of my own. Rather than sit idly by waiting for someone else to start a letter writing campaign or petition, I started one of my own. Every single member of the township board, every trustee and all members of the Environmental Department received a letter from yours truly today, requesting the implementation of this recycling program.

I also offered my services to speak at the township and to work as a liaison with the waste company. Earlier this year, I started a similar program for our Little League. Though, on a much, much smaller scale. 15 carts with die cut lids at a baseball park can't compare to 200,000 recycling carts delivered to each and every doorstep. But, I am the Trash Lady, and I can so make this happen. Local activism, I am doing my part for my community!
Update: I have received one response so far, not a committment to the program, but an acknowledgment none the less: "Hello , I appreciate your very thoughtful letter. I, too, am looking forward to full scale implementation of a significantly expanded recycling initiative. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm".

10 comments:

Joyce said...

Oh, wow! This could be HUGE for your community! You sound like just the right person to do it too, with your marketing background and writing skills. I can't wait to see how this unfolds!

Heather @ SGF said...

That's awesome! Supposedly there's a place in Dallas that take all those plastics as well but it's only in trial phase. I don't think they should be able to make things that can't be recycled.

Good luck with your campaign! I can hardly wait to hear about how it goes!

Green Bean said...

You see! I knew you were a superhero. Think of what an impact you would have. Whip out that cape and save some recyclables.

JAM said...

That is really awesome. You make me feeling like doing something productive where I live. I need to check my recycling brochure - I just throw everything in the bin - I wonder if you put in stuff that's not allowed if it contaminates the whole load? I suspect most people are not on top of what can and can't be reacycled. And is the story true that if things have their caps on (milk jugs, water bottles, etc) they will just be thrown away? My daughter read that somewhere so we've been leaving caps off but we notice almost everyone has caps on in their bins.

Greener Grass Notes, Inc. said...

That is amazing! My husband and I just relocated to Daytona Beach, FL (used to live in Phoenix, AZ). They don't even recycle boxes when you set them out on the curb for recycle day. Most of my neighbors believe recycling in a conspiracy (bizarre, huh?). I can't wait to hear how this turns out in your community.

ruralaspirations said...

Good for you for doing something about it! I have a question however, our city has told us that recycling #3 and #7 plastics is actually not cost-effective nor is it carbon-effective due to the amount of energy needed to recycle them and apparent it has to get shipped to a place far from here. So they said that is why they don't collect it. Any comments?

Lori said...

Wow, that sounds like a great program! I wish you lots of luck with your campaign to make it happen!

We have a similar program in our little suburb - we have a huge rolling bin that's picked up every week, and we can use it for everything except #6 plastics. Not sure why, but they do take all the others, so I'm not complaining too much.

We too have a few odd neighbors who absolutely refuse to use the recycling bins. Last week I walked past one of the holdout houses and realized that fully 2/3 of the trash they put out looked recyclable. I had half a mind to run home, roll my bin down to their end of the block and pull that stuff out, but then I chickened out....

Natalie said...

Good for you!

Melinda said...

Great work! And thank you for sharing this with everyone. I feel that at least within our blogging community, we are inspiring one another to do more and more, and gaining a momentum. It's a good feeling. More, more, more!

Domestic Accident said...

When my community switched to recycling 1-7, it seriously cut my garbage down to maybe 25%. It's huge. Hope you get it!