How To Set Up A Neighborhood Recycling Program
More than 50 percent of the waste going into most municipal landfills is recyclable, especially if your city doesn’t have a recycling program in place. If you’re in a city with no program, set up your own neighborhood recycling group and deliver your items to the recycling center yourself.
Step 1: Find a Recycling Center
You need a reliable place to take your recycling before you can put a community plan into action. Your choices are either a city or private recycling service center like Quantum Resource Recovery. Check with the center to verify which items they can take. This varies at each center, but common recyclables include:
Aluminum, steel and tin cans
Paper and cardboard
Glass jars and bottles
Plastic (verify which numbers are acceptable. Numbers are printed or stamped on the bottom of the plastic item.)
Bulbs and batteries
Step 2: Talk to Your Neighbors
Visit your neighbors and find out which ones are interested in a community recycling group. Take down names and addresses. Keep in mind that more people will want to contribute recyclables than will want to do any labor toward the program. Ask how much time they are willing to commit to the project, because you will need at least two or three helpers to keep the program successful.
Give each participant a list of the acceptable recyclable materials, along with any instructions, such as keeping them separate or rinsing out jars and cans first.
Step 3: Set Up a Collection Plan.
Regular recycling center visits will make people more likely to recycle, because no one wants the recyclables to build up in their house. Set a collection schedule. It can be weekly, biweekly or monthly, depending on the amount of people involved and how much recyclable material they generate. Try and arrange it for the same day each week or month.
Step 4: Create a Collection Site
You have two options for collection – pick up everyone’s recycling on the collection day, or have them drop it off in a central location. If there is a spot in your yard or in a neighborhood gathering area for collection containers, you can set up a container for each recyclable. Clearly label the collection container for each recyclable group so nothing becomes mixed together before you bring it to the service center.
Step 5: Organize Deliveries.
Even if you plan to make all deliveries yourself, it’s a good idea to have at least one backup deliverer in case you are out of town or ill. Make sure every delivery volunteer knows the location and hours of the recycling center, along with any key details such as drop off protocol once on the center’s site.
Recycling groups often have a slow start. It takes time for everyone to get into the habit of collecting their recyclables separately, and you will need to find out whom you can rely on for help. Give the new program time to become a habit, and you may find that doing your part for the environment has become second nature.