ACC Solid Waste Department continues to educate with resource guidePosted: March 26, 2009
Lauren Middleton recycles. She recycles paper, plastic, batteries and even old light bulbs. But when the triathalete wanted to recycle her old bike, she did not know where to look.
Then she received the 2009 Environmental Resource Guide for Athens-Clarke County in the mail. Suddenly, all her recycling questions were answered.
“I am a stickler for recycling, but some things you just don’t know where to take,” Middleton, a senior biology major, said. “When I got this guide, I found out where to not only take my bike, but where to things like take food scraps too. I did not even know those could be recycled!”
Suki Janessen, Waste Reduction Administrator for the ACC Recycling Division, wanted just this thing to happen.
“We are hoping people will learn and act on something from the guide they did not know, because that will keep out community continuing to recycle and staying green,” Janessen said.
The Guide, which is twenty pages long, is an extensive list of recyclable materials and where to dispose of them. Some included are: eyeglasses, ink cartridges, pizza boxes, shoes, propane tanks and cooking oil.
It has been printed and mailed out to everyone with an account at the Water Department for the past nine years. Suki, who has only been with the Solid Waste Department for the past four years, said she sees it continuing to be distributed.
“Luckily, we have not had to stop sending the guide due to budget cuts,” Janessen said. “Unless times get really tight, I see it surviving.”
A cut they have had to make is the calendar. The guide used to come with a yearly calendar, and removing it was a creative way to keep the guide going, yet make it cheaper to print, Janessen said.
“So far we have had not complaints about taking the calendar out, but I have a feeling the older community members might,” Janessen said.
The Recycling Division of the Solid Waste Department, located on College Avenue, is not the only group who contributes to the guide. Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, a non-profit group that focuses on issues that affect the appearance of the community, also contributed.
“We are a small organization and need to have a big voice to stress the importance of keeping Athens beautiful,” Stacee Farrell, Executive Director or KACCB, said. “Community support is what we depend on to keep Athens-Clarke County beautiful.”
According to the ACC Solid Waste Department’s Recycling Division Annual Report (which can be found online at http://www.helpathensrecycle.com), there has been a 12 percent increase in the amount of tons of recyclables from 2007 to 2008.
Farrell said one of the biggest ways they have connected with the community is through the Cigarette Fairy campaign.
“We have gotten such a positive response from this [campaign] and we think it really is working,” Farrell said.
The campaign, which is mentioned in the Guide, is a public awareness campaign to inform the community to dispose of cigarette butts.
“You cannot recycle cigarette butts, but it is important for people to see that they are litter,” Farrell said. “By seeing our ad campaign, [the public] will hopefully be linked to recycling information as well.”
Information about litter abatement, solid waste management, recycling, water quality, graffiti prevention and beautification can be found online at http://www.keepathensbeautiful.org.
Another resource available to the public is the newspaper insert “One Man’s Trash.”
“We put out [this] quarterly newsletter to keep the public updated on recycling tips, volunteer options and news in the Solid Waste Department,” Kristine Kobylus, Program Education Specialists for the ACC Solid Waste Department, said. “It’s important to put our information directly in people’s hands because some people still like the hard copy, and honestly, how many times have you visited our website?”
Kobylus and Janessen work together to create the Environmental Resource Guide. She also takes submissions for articles for “One Man’s Trash” and produces all the Solid Waste Department’s educational promotions.
“The best thing is for the public to be aware of all the recycling options,” Kobylus said. “[Recycling] is an issue that should be just as much on the forefront as the economy.”
Luckily, students and community members like Lauren realize this.
“I think recycling is just as important as saving water or turning off unused lights,” Middleton said. “This resource guide has really helped me become a better citizen and show greater respect for my planet.”
“We need to keep these guides going, even through hard economic times,” she said. “People are statistically recycling more, so we need to keep up our job and help these numbers grow even more.”
Environmental Resource Guides can be requested online at http://www.acc-recycle.org.