“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” — Margaret Wheatley, Community Building Author
Schools, local government, churches, community centers, retail businesses and property managers all show their commitment to a community by how they integrate and respond to the needs of the community – landscaping, maintenance, design, and of course, services.
The one thing so many communities have found unites them in purpose and service: RECYCLING.
Recycling isn’t just separating your trash and the local government providing bins and pick-up, it’s a way a community thinks about, uses and conserves its resources.
Local business owners can show citizens they share their concerns by being an essential part of the community — neighborhood by neighborhood.
A CONSCIOUS COMMUNITY
Every community pays for its garbage. By diverting solid waste, you cut costs, period. Local budgets have fees that are calculated by amount of waste sent to the landfill.
Recycling isn’t just saving materials from the landfill; it’s also saving expenses and resources for communities that participate.
A THRIVING COMMUNITY
According to the EPA’s Recycling Economic Information Study, “recycling industries not only offer higher paying jobs than the national average, they also prevent communities from disposing of valuable commodities in landfills.”
A HEALTHY COMMUNITY
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, air pollution pose hazards to human health and is responsible for nearly 5% of the of asthma cases globally. By recycling, waste that releases GHGs through anaerobic decomposition is reduced.
What can you do to build community and green up your city, town or neighborhood?
3 initiatives you can spearhead:
- A CLOTHING DRIVE
Many of us have a stock pile of old clothes, shoes and linens we’ve been meaning to clear out of our basements and closets to take to the bin or give to a charity, but we just keep forgetting, or we’re just too busy. Make it easy on your neighbors by organizing a clothing drive and give plenty of notice by posting flyers at churches, community centers, merchant windows, and the local paper. OR you can make it even simpler and organize an annual volunteer pick up — where YOUR volunteers go door to door.
- THE GREENEST BLOCK CONTEST
There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, and what’s healthier than your neighborhood block vying for this title. The prestige of it might be enough of a reward, but if you want more incentive, an announcement in the local paper, a banner sign for their street, or a sticker or sign that everyone on the block can put in their front window. This also helps increase real estate values — who wouldn’t want to live on the Greenest Block?
- RECYCLING RESOURCE CENTER
Many people don’t recycle because they don’t know how, where, or what can be recycled. Create a GO-TO person or committee in your community that can be a resource and hub of information. This free service can be advertised anywhere and everywhere. The next time someone wonders “what do I do with these old batteries?” it’s just an email or call away.
We all want to live in a thriving, healthy and prosperous community. So next time you hear that little voice say, “someone should do something about this!” Remember: YOU are someone. A community is made up of a whole lot of someones.