Going Green – Chris Vail- May 2019

‘Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything’- George Bernard Shaw

I frequently mention change and I have a philosophy that the only thing that is constant is change, and we are the change that can make a difference. Knowing that my job is behavior modification that means every day I am challenged with changing behavior and minds. But, the challenge is to reinforce the positive behavior and inform those of the negative behavior patterns. No one likes to be ‘told’ what to do, no one goes into a day thinking I am going to do bad, and most people think their behavior is beyond reproach.  So here it is: littering is bad, recycling is good, know what you can recycle and practice till you are perfect.

But what happens when you are faced with a new opportunity to do more?  What happens when a new opportunity is not a purist action or even the best course of action?  For example: we tell everyone to utilize the reusable cloth bags instead of the plastic bags at the store. Did you know that in order to create a value from the cloth bags you must use them over 7,000 times?  Really?  That means if I go to the store once a week I will need to use that bag for 132.6 years.  Not feasible, yet it is what we are supposed to do. 

What happens when we teach we recycle plastic #1 and plastic # only and then we find our recycling center will now take #1 through # 7’s?  We re-educate!  We send the message through our marketing and social media we now have a larger opportunity to recycle more. 

In our community there is the new program sponsored by Dow Chemical, called the Hefty Energy Bag program. WRG has been a part of this program for a couple of months and it is working for them.  The objective is to eliminate the ancillary plastic waste from the landfills and turn waste into power.  ‘Refuse for power”, ‘energy recovery’ ‘waste for energy’ are all terms used for the incineration of the plastic waste, which is how these plastics are being transformed. It is ultimately recycling, because technically it is creating a new product for reuse in the power it is generating. Initially, I was not a proponent of this procedure, but seeing the effects and the benefits to our community I changed my thought process.  I changed because I learned more, realized the benefits mean the continuation of our MRF,  and knew the MRF’ success is also the community’s success.

WRG has had to change too, they have had to realize what programs work, what programs cost and what programs allow them to continue to service Keith County. The Hefty Energy bag program helps them not have to sort and bale, they can send the bags alone. We want you to engage in the program too.  Give it a try.  Buy one bag at WRG,  the recycling center and do it for a month.  See if there is a difference in your waste output and know your personal contribution. It cannot hurt, only ultimately help.

Recycle McConaughy will be ready for the Memorial Day weekend, with recycling containers located at the Lake Visitor Center, Martin Bay, Arthur Bay, Sandy Beach and Van’s Lakeview. This year we are also asking to keep all cigarettes and butts off our beaches.  KKCB is the recipient of a grant from Keep America Beautiful to aid our lake businesses in preventing cigarette litter. Ask for free hand held ashtrays or portable ashtrays from us or the lake businesses.

We have celebrated our end of the year programs at the school and have had another success filled PepsiCo Recycle Rally, as we finished in 6th Place in the nation.  Words cannot express the profound gratitude we feel for this program, our students and our school.  Keep Keith County Beautiful has been able to be involved from the onset of this great recycling effort and we want it to continue to be important. Although we have ended the Recycle Rally we want you to stay in the habit.  

Our kids will be forever know as one of the best in the country for recycling and recycling education.  Congrats Prairie View School!!! This is a community effort, our students, parents, co-workers, businesses, and non-profits assist and help us grow our recycling efforts and we THANK YOU FOR KEEPING KEITH COUNTY BEAUTIFUL.

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