Everyone knows the three Rs of recycling...Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We believe there is a fourth R...Respect.
We're not referring to respecting our environment, although we know we should. The respect this article addresses is respect for the people who must handle the items recycled by businesses and individuals in the community.
Until we walk in another's shoes, we often don't think about how our actions affect someone else. Our KALB Secretary Leigh Patterson and I had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of our recycling center drivers. Leigh and I manned a truck and serviced cardboard cages at local business. These cages are provided and serviced free of charge. In the heat of the summer, this is very strenuous and dirty work.
What did we find? We found that most locations did not break down their cardboard boxes, which means we could not efficiently fill our truck. That sometimes meant multiple trips to the same location, which is not time or fuel efficient. We also found boxes filled with Styrofoam, air pillows, or garbage. Time had to be taken to remove these contaminants so the cardboard could be recycled.
Our non-profit recycling center provides a wonderful service to this community. We accept more materials for recycling than most other centers in North Alabama! We do it because it is the right thing to do for our environment.
In return, all we ask for is respect. How can you do that?
Empty and break down all cardboard to be recycled
Don't toss garbage in a business recycling cage
Remove food waste
THANK YOU to each person and business that DOES take the time to do these things. We notice and we appreciate you VERY MUCH!
We do appreciate everyone who takes the time to recycle cardboard and other materials. We do ask that you remember when tossing your recyclables in a collection cage, curbside bin, or recycling center collection bin, that there is a real person who will have to handle it. Please put it in the cage or bin the way you would want it if YOU were the one that had to handle it next.
A bit of RESPECT will go a long way to let our staff know that you appreciate the hard work they do to keep these materials out of the landfill, and to reduce business dumpster costs.
I am proud to say that Leigh and I made the center proud with the amounts of cardboard we were able to stuff into our truck with each load! The greatest moment of the day for us, however, was going home and taking a long, hot shower!
We take our hats off to our recycling center staff!
By: Lynne Hart