On Saturday, September 13th several pivotal community organizations and businesses will be partnering up with the Mid Michigan Waste Authority to present their annual ‘Go Wild – Get in Recycle Motion’ gathering at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square. The purpose of this free event is to promote recycling and educate residents about the curbside recycling program offered to MMWA’s 35 member communities, as well as the environmental, economic, and societal benefits of recycling and waste reduction.
MMWA has held some type of public event to promote residential recycling since 2000, many of these usually scheduled around Earth Day earlier in the Spring; however, due to many other ambitious projects this year, MMWA decided to move this important community educational event to early Fall.
In past years, 2500 attendees have made it to this event and according to Monica Duebbert, Director of MMWA, “Go Wild events really focus on educating the family about the 4R message: teaching adults and kids how to recycle and why it is a good waste management choice. Since all 35 municipal members of MMWA offer recycling curbside, all residents have the ability to recycle their paper, cardboard, select plastics and metals easily as part of their sold waste program services. However, may people are not aware they have recycling service and may not know how to participate, do not have a recycling bin, or do not understand why recycling is a valuable activity.”
“By mixing the 4R recycling message into a fun day with interactive displays and hands-on activities about not just recycling, but other environmental /nature issues, MMWA makes learning fun for participants of all ages. Research has shown that offering learning opportunities with multiple routes of communication, i.e., written, verbal, graphic, participatory, lecture, etc. helps reach more people, and more effectively get across the topic.”
“Holding the event at the Zoo adds another dimension to what attendees can do at the event and subtly underscores the recycling/environmental awareness message by seeing animals whose habitat and existence pivot on humans’ caretaking the environment we all share,” underscores Monica.
Given that is takes an average of 22 times for many people to hear a new message, the focus at the 2014 Go Wild! Event will be similar to previous years, with fun activities such as face painting, temporary tattoos, and recycled towel roll shakers for kids. Plus each child age 1-13 will receive a free RecycleMotion Kids T-shirt while supplies last. Additional activities involving Go Wild partners include Trash to Treasure Crafts, Enviro Games & activities, Backyard Composting info and much more. In addition to event sponsors such as Waste Management, Rifkin Scrap Iron & Metal, ReCommunitiy Saginaw, Quality Reliable Printing and Roberts, Hoehler & Fisher CPAs and Word Up magazine, several community partners will be sharing resources and coordinating eco-friendly crafts and activities, including Saginaw County Parks and Recreation, the Environmental Protection Agency, Saginaw County Department of Public Health, Saginaw Valley Sustainability Society, Waste Management and Joe FM.
“For the past 8 years, MMWA and various area organizations and businesses have offered kids 1 month to 13 years old free t-shirts made from recycled soda bottles,” notes Monica. “They are hugely popular. We normally give away around 500 shirts in the first 2 hours of the event. Many parents share that their child has multiple years of the shirt and looks forward to each years’ edition, as we change colors each year.”
When asked what some of the most common things are that people can do to help impact the environment that they often forget or are unaware about, Monica stresses the importance of “being aware before you make a trash item.”
“Ask it you need to buy any particular item; and if so, can you buy it with less packaging and is the packaging reusable or reyclable? People should also make small changes, as they can bring big results and lead to further behavior changes.”
“Another ever growing area whose diversion to the recycling stream could have far-reaching national impacts is an effort to capture and recycle single serve beverage containers,” she notes. “Think how many you and your family consume in a week. It is not so hard to simply bring your used single serve beverage bottles back home and recycle. Better yet, use reusable beverage bottles when on the go so far fewer finite natural resources are being used.”
Another significant issue is the importance of setting goals for recycling. What does Monica feel are achievable recycling goals for Saginaw County that people should strive to accomplish?
“Every household serviced through their municipality’s MMWA curbside solid waste program should participate in recycling,” she states. “It’s a service you are already paying for, and the rewards for participating are many: economic, environmental and societal.
“If all 71,000 households would recycle the allowed, expansive list of recyclables in the curbside recycling program, trash volumes could easily shrink by 50%. Just by recycling all home-generated paper, cookie and cereal boxboard and cardboard, which make up about 30% of the wastestream, residents could immediately and significantly impact landfill capacity demands, reduce natural resource demands and support the recycled paper industry to divert even more paper.”
“That’s the potential impact from recycling just one allowed wastestream: imagine the additional benefits of recycling the allowed plastics, metals and glass. Meeting a 50% diversion rate is eminently doable, and all recycling efforts help reduce the impact on natural resources and spur the continued growth of the recycling industry. In fact, the recycling industry employs 4 times as many people as the landfill disposal industry, and some of those jobs are local.”
Getting into RecycleMotion is easy: it is just 2-Steps!
1 A. Call your municipal office/official to get a bin; or 1B) Create your own recycling bin using any 33 gallon or smaller hard-sided container, such as a large storage tote or a repurposed 33 gallon trash can and slap on a “Recyclables Only” sticker from your community or MMWA.
2. Follow the recycling program rules for what can be recycled and how to prepare such.
Solid waste program rules are on-line at MMWA’s website at recyclemotion, org, or you can call MMWA to be sent a copy of the Loop Guide.
That’s it – now you are in recyclemotion!