The Scoop on America Recycles Day: Taking A Closer Look
by Sujata Gautam
November 15, 2018
America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day on November 15th dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. “It is a great time to reflect on what motivates the community to recycle.” explains Elly Ventura, the Outreach Manager of the LRSWMD, “Last year, we were fortunate enough to have ECO AmeriCorps member, Sujata Gautam, do a project that captured exactly that.” Sujata visited all six LRSWMD drop-off locations last November to engage with the community on this topic. You may have encountered this young lady, with sticky note in hand, asking folks as they dropped off their recycling, “Why do you recycle?”
“I got a myriad of answers,” Sujata remembers, laughing. “Some were really funny, ‘my mom makes me’, was one answer, while others were so heartfelt as people relayed to me their concerns for the environment. I got over 250 responses, and the most popular response, by far, was ‘because it’s the right thing to do.’”
Sujata expressed that other top answers included, “It’s cheaper than trash” and “Efficiency”. People liked that their items would be used to make new products and not just sit around in a landfill. Sujata wanted to create a visual display to capture people’s motivations behind recycling, and developed a word cloud to represent the most popular responses.
“It’s really neat to see the community’s responses to my question in this format.” Sujata explains, “The size of the word indicates how popular of an answer it was.” Sujata expresses she really enjoyed conducting this survey and was happy to answer people’s recycling questions in the process
So what does the LRSWMD have in store this America Recycles Day? Sujata is serving her second year as ECO AmeriCorps member and will be visiting classrooms in five different LRSWMD schools from Nov. 12th-16th to celebrate America Recycles Day with students. “I really look forward to exploring why recycling makes a difference through the fun games and activities I’ve got planned. I think it’s so important to actively reach out and engage youth; they will steward our future forward.”
Additionally, the LRSWMD is also hosting a series of Demystifying Waste Workshops this year, and the first workshop will be held Nov. 14th at the Stowe Free Library, from 5:30-6:30 pm. “Participants will have the opportunity to ask all their recycle, compost, and trash related questions.“ Sujata explains. “They will also find out where their items go after they put them in the bin and why it’s important to put them in the right place.” As a way to encourage residents to come learn, a voucher will be given to each household to drop off one 15-gal recycling bin for FREE at any of the LRSWMD drop-off locations. All those who attend will also automatically be entered into a raffle to win prizes at the end of the workshop. “One thing we’re really trying to remind folks at these workshops is to rinse out their containers before recycling them. Not only does it make recycling a cleaner process, it reduces the health hazards for the folks who have to physically sort the items at the recycling facility.”
Undoubtedly, there are many ways to celebrate America Recycles Day this year. Whether you decide to reflect on why you recycle, attend a Demystifying Waste workshop, or simply make sure to rinse out those containers, the LRSWMD appreciates your efforts.
The mission of the LRSWMD is to reduce the quantity and toxicity of the amount of trash being generated and sent to the landfill while maintaining or improving overall environmental quality (air, water, and soil), treating customers and employees with respect, and operating within a balanced budget. District member towns include: Belvidere, Cambridge, Craftsbury, Eden, Elmore, Hyde Park, Johnson, Morristown, Stowe, Waterville, Wolcott, and Worcester. Contact the LRSWMD office at 802.888.7317 or visit us at www.lrswmd.org for more information.
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To help you stay organized, bins are available for purchase at all LRSWMD locations. You can also ask your hauler what containers they may provide for proper recycling pick up.