How to Start a Citywide Recycling Program All By Yourself
What do you do if there's simply no recycling program in your area? This: you look at the trash cans stuffed with used paper and plastic goods, breathe a wistful sigh into the ether, and shake your head, defeated.
To use the parlance of the 90s: Not.
No, you do what one man in Georgia did?you muster all your strength (you're going to need it to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and lack of budgets) and start one up yourself.
The one man in question, Pat Cosby?whose story is chronicled by Earth 911—faced this very plight. He worked in an office where there was no recycling to be found, and convinced his co-workers to implement the practice. But since there was no ongoing recycling initiative, he got his co-workers to drop off used paper and cardboard right at his desk. At the end of the week, he'd go directly to the paper recyclers and drop it off himself.
But then he decided that wasn't enough. After seeing the loads of paper and plastic waste accruing on driveways after Christmas, he decided he was going to take his drive a step further, and get his entire neighborhood to recycle.
Here's how he did it, and how you can too. Take notes.
1. He contacted the director of the city's curbside recycling program and pitched his idea.
Go right to the source—if your neighborhood isn't getting curbside recycling service, see if there's one offered in the city or region that you live in. Contact them. Then:
2. He contacted Caraustar Industries, which is one of the city's local paper and cardboard recyclers. They were all too happy to assist Pat, and the city of Columbus lent four trucks to assist with collecting the wrapping paper and cardboard. These were to be set up at the community?s four Christmas tree recycling drop off sites, which were located in parks around the town. Caraustar would then pick up the trucks when it was time.
Talk to a recycling company, if there's one in the area—usually, they'll be glad to make arrangements to help. After all, it means more business for them.
3. The next part was toughest for Pat. He had to get the word out, and there was absolutely no budget to do so. So, he went to work contacting the local television stations and the newspaper. The television stations gave him airtime that enabled him to market this new program. In addition to this, the newspaper wrote an article about it. Pat also spread the word through church leaders, in hopes that they would put this information into the hands of their congregations.
Now that's dedication—but it's not an impossible feat. If you're championing a positive cause like recycling, chances are the local media is going to get on board. It's the sort of positive vibe story that there's often a shortage of, and they'll likely gladly help promote a program designed to better the community. And it works: Pat ended up recycling hundreds of pounds of materials every month at work, and thousands in his community.
So if you've got the guts, be like Pat, and get your community recycling. People like pat are the sort of unsung environmental heroes the green movement could always use more of.