Save the Planet: Recycle

So, as parks and rec professionals dedicated to making the world a better place, what can you do?

I can suggest a couple things, but I’ll bet there are a lot smarter people reading this who have more experience than I do. Got any ideas? Sharing them here might motivate someone else to give it a try.

Here’s one to kick-start the discussion:

Do you have recycling receptacles for plastic and aluminum cans at all your sports facilities?

Do you have them out when you have big practice days or tournaments?

Can you get someone to help monitor and encourage people to use them?

It will amaze you to see the volume of bottles and cans you isolate for recycling after one of these events.

Or start in your own office. Put out containers for aluminum cans and plastic to get people into the habit.

OK, your turn … ideas anyone?

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, who also served until recently in municipal parks and recreation, lives in Peachtree City, Ga., and can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email

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2 comments on “Save the Planet: Recycle

  1. Randy, the timing of this article is astounding. In my freebie weekly paper, a local church is hosting a Sierra Club documentary about plastic abuse. The film “Bag It” will show between 100 to 150 billion plastic bags in 2010 floating in the Ballona Creek in southwestern Los Angeles. I thought the picture was beachfront before I read the article and realized it was all plastic.

    I personally take a very active role in buying products that I can recycle. My community recycling center does a great job of offering containers for plastics, paper, metal, appliances, tires, etc. I burn what I can in the fireplace and compost in my backyard. I am not responsible for a park per se, but I do take pride in taking action to pick up when I’m walking in my neighborhood, on a trail and even in a parking lot. And you’re right — once we fill up these spaces….what do we do? Unfortunately, we are a throw-away society and until our backs are to the walls…it’s all gonna come down to money.

    While visiting my dad in MA, he would pay a quarter to rent a carriage, if he returned it he would get the quarter back. If he didn’t bring bags for his groceries he had to buy them at the register. In addition, he had to bag them himself at another counter. Why? The store kept it’s overhead down and products were inexpensive. In a park situation it’s the same: Take responsibility and have the containers available, or incentives to bring it out.

    In Disney World Florida, children and adults kept feeding this wandering trash container to get it to talk, burp and thank them for feeding them. In some schools, children are taking repsonsibility for keeping their schools clean, recycling and gardening. The answer is to start this thought process early. If we continue as we are, we’re leaving one heck of a mess to our children.

  2. Great input Nancy, thanks for replying. I really like the idea of the wandering trash can! And I agree, conditioning the kids as early as possible is probably the one key item, and it should start at home, then be reinforced in schools and elsewhere. I also like the idea of buying the plastic bags at the grocery – that would get people thinking. At one grocery chain here in Georgia they have a plastic bag re-use program where you can bring your plastic bags back and they re-use them over and over again. There’s a ton of ideas out there but people have to first be motivated to do something. I hope we can start turning our “throw-away” mind set around, soon.

    To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the responses…or rather lack of them, to this Weekender. I thought there were lots of P&R pros out there who were recycle-savvy and willing to share ideas. I hope people were just distracted and will see this now and fire off some ideas….but thanks for yours Nancy, they were excellent! Oh, and your comments here are eco-friendly, digital medium, no paper, no plastic.:-)

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