Tuesday: Make Recycling Happen

Have you ever wondered why something is the way it is? Have you ever wondered how it could be different? Have you ever wondered how change happens?

Take-Action Tuesday is all about taking a chance and making change happen. Today’s story comes to us from Serena, one of Mobile Baykeeper’s most valued volunteers. Her story starts with a simple question.

Don't let your cardboard become waste!

Ask a question.  How many times have you wondered about something and then the thought has quickly fleeted as the hectic pace of the day continues?  Often with the readily available mass amounts of information at our fingertips, we generally ponder and wonder a great many things throughout the day but fail to properly formulate our questions.  For me, my question concerned how to recycle the cardboard and paper waste from work.

The Problem

As an analyst at a local company, several of us had discussed how we should be good stewards and recycle the cardboard boxes that overfilled the company’s dumpster on a weekly basis. Sometimes our cardboard disposal surpassed the dumpster’s capacity, and the company would be required to call for extra waste pick-up that week.  Some of us, as individuals, started carting whatever our compact cars could hold to the Keep Mobile Beautiful Metro Recycling Drop Off site.  The comments of how we wished we could be more effective at recycling kept bouncing through the company hallways.

The Question

Then the comment about a service that offered free paper recycling pick up reached my ears.  I asked the question: “Have we called them?” Blank stares were my answer.  I took five minutes to access the information ready at my fingertips and called Keep Mobile Beautiful. Upon hearing my request, they directed me to Charmayne Watson at The Newark Group.  Two voicemails, one mine and one her timely response, and presto!  One recycled waste dumpster, now being used for a paper materials recycle bin, delivered directly to the company’s site, free-of-charge.

Routine pick-ups were scheduled, and we were told to call when we needed an additional pick up in the week.

Total amount of time it took me to accomplish this: 15 minutes.

The Outcome

The company now recycles its cardboard boxes, shredded paper and other office paper waste. Some employees are even bringing paper from home. (For some the drive to the Metro Recycling Center site is not economical, gas-wise.)  Neighboring companies are also using the recycling bin.  Debris that would have continued to fill landfills is now being recycled at no cost to the companies using the service.  For a small company, it may have started as a matter of economics and cost-effectiveness for waste disposal.  For those of us wondering how to improve or lessen our impact on our environment, it is a matter of asking a question and taking what literally may be five minutes to get an answer and make a difference.

Some Helpful Resources

If you live in Mobile:

If you live outside of Mobile (and many of you do!):

  • Visit http://earth911.com/ to find a recycling center or service near you.
  • Visit Keep America Beautiful to find an affiliate in your area, or other resources about recycling and litter. http://www.kab.org/
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