No recycling service in your area? Why not start your own? That’s what 12-year-old Ben Sias of Bainbridge Island, WA did. The Winslow Observer of Bainbridge Island (where IN CONTEXT has its offices) reports that Sias is personally responsible for recycling 6,000 pounds of newspaper and other items over the past two years. He goes out on a sort of paper route in reverse to collect neighbors newspapers, and periodically gives them a typed report on his progress.
And Sias is not alone. Island residents Lee and Gail Watson operate the Island’s only recycling center – as a hobby. Collecting newspaper, scrap paper, tin, aluminum, and glass, they pass these recyclable materials on to dealers – but receive not a penny in return.
On the other side of the country, the tiny town of Naples, NY (pop. 3,500) was threatened with a crisis by a closing landfill, so they developed a recycling program in a mere three months. How? According to the Nov-Dec, 1989 issue of Biocycle, a Journal of Waste Recycling, they just kept things simple.
Instead of spending big bucks for fancy equipment, they bought a 45′ trailer and fitted it with bins to hold cans, bottles, paper and metals. Then they found a buyer for the separated materials – in the yellow pages of the phone book.
Even the staff of IN CONTEXT has caught the do-it-yourself bug. We recycle vigorously, and I pack all my kitchen waste over from Seattle to Bainbridge Island as compost for co-worker Kari Berger’s garden. Sure, it stinks up my backpack sometimes. But the vegetables I get back will be worth it.