Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day Twenty - Talk the Talk

Talk to Your Friends & Neighbors About Recycling

I get so many notes and emails from all you guys out there and I appreciate every single one. It reminds me that there are other people out there who are trying to make a difference in their own ways and gives me more great ideas for improvements! It's this sharing of ideas that helps us all learn about how we can do our best to leave a clean, habitable planet for our children's children.

So, hopefully my great friend, Leah, won't mind when I use her story as a great example of how talking with your friends and neighbors can make a BIG difference! This is an email I recieved from her after my post about recycling:

I was shocked that Alabama did not recycle when I came here! I was so used to doing it and later saw a stack of newspapers in my neighbor’s garage. I asked them if they were recycling and they were, but they had to drive their recycled papers to the plant in my town. Once I found out that there was one and that they offer recycling as an option, I was all over it! I taught my step kids how to do it and we began significantly cutting down on our garbage. We save money, because we are only allowed on full trash can per week, but we don’t even have that much.
Then I saw somebody with a blue bin and thought, “I remember those!" And was
very excited to find out that if you ask, the recycling plant would give you one free of cost! AND... I later talked to the plant and found out that if I could get at least ten neighbors to recycle, then they would come by our homes once a week to do a pick up. I went door to door and gave my neighbors the pamphlet and Sign Up sheet and found out that most all of my neighbors were interested. Those that were not interested do not have garages to keep the bins in covered. The homeowners association also now provides each new homeowner with the written information and the option to Sign up for a bin. I feel like I have helped a little bit in the way of recycling.

One idea that helps with recycling is saving your soda cans in a separate bag. At home and at work. Alabama does not offer a deposit or refund like NY. I used to take all my cans and bring them to my church who gets a small amount of money for them. Most recently I have just been taking them to my neighborhood pool. They have just started using the money made by the cans to save for new outdoor furniture for the pool area, which we are in need of. I have gotten my co-workers to recycle all their soda cans for this purpose, whereas before they just threw them in the trash. I set up a box in our office and I take the cans ever week or two, throw them in my trunk and then drop them off at the pool a couple of times a month. Everybody wins becuase the homeowners association is making funds for the pool and all of my co-workers are now recycling all of our cans instead of just throwing them away. I assume most people who live in a development have a home owner’s
association that may be interested in making extra money and this is just a thought of how to go about it. The secretary of the home owners association is taking the responsibility of turning the cans in for a little bit of money, but her whole motto is “you got to start somewhere!” which is good attitude.

A great attitude indeed! Kudos to Leah for taking the initiative, talking to her neighbors and GETTING THINGS DONE! You're the rock star of the day!


Sounds like at a minimum, Leah got ten neighbors to start recycling! Assuming they all cut their trash consumption in half (very conservative), she has probably saved 390 gallons of trash per week! That's 20,280 gallons of trash a year! Just by talking to her neighbors and discovering they wanted to recycle too. That doesn't even count her efforts at recycling the soda cans. You go, girl!

Difficulty Level: 3 out 5

I haven't done it, so I'm not sure, but I would guess it depends more on your personality and how close you are with your neighbors. But if you live in an area that doesn't currently provide curbside recycling, call your municipality's waste management division and find out how many neighbors you would need to sign up to get it. Then go meet your neighbors and get them on board. It'll give you a good excuse to meet them :-)

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