Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Low Impact Little League

A wondering from the EcoWonder...
For those who don't remember me from over at my old blog, I am the "trash lady". Last year our little league baseball program didn't recycle. I thought that should change, so in working with the league and our trash provider we changed all that and introduced simple plastic, glass and aluminum recycling carts. I had to haul around a wagon with signs telling people about the program, make an announcement on opening day and randomly check fields and look inside trash cans for recycling materials. Hence the name "trash lady".

There were nay-sayers to the program. Mainly a few adults that thought kids would never take the time to sort their trash and the carts for recycling would end up full of trash and vice-versa. What those nay-sayers didn't realize is that kids are perfectly comfortable sorting trash, looking for the recycling symbol on the carts and understanding what can and can not be recycled. It was the parents who needed a little training. Within the first week our 15 carts, each holding 96 gallons, were stuffed to the top, brimming over with plastic. Our 30 trash carts? Some barely half full, others almost empty.

In preparation for my upcoming board meeting for the league, I did a little math. Not my strongest subject, but by my calculations we saved:

23,040 gallons of plastic, glass and aluminum were diverted from the landfill to the recycling center. IN 16 WEEKS!

These carts remain at the park year-round, meaning the travel leagues that use the park all summer long after regular season? They now recycle. The men's softball league that uses the park in the fall? They now recycle. The girls softball team at the park adjacent to ours? They tried to roll a couple of our carts over to their side of the park. Of course, I busted them and requisitioned my carts over to our side. However, I put the softball league president in contact with the trash company and guess what? This year they are going to recycle too!

By my calculations, if the park is used spring through fall, with both the softball side and the little league side recycling we have the opportunity to save:

80,640 gallons of trash from a landfill each year! I have no way of converting this into pounds or tons, as the cans are mixed with glass, plastic and aluminum, but I still think it's not too shabby for first year program.

This year I am proposing a paper and cardboard recycling program to attack all those pizza boxes and paper bags from the corner take out restaurant. I would also like to address the concession stands use of styrofoam cups for the sale of coffee and hot chocolate. Do you have any ideas for alternatives? I might as well tackle these while I have the chance - I'm pretty sure my nay-sayers will be fairly quiet at the next board meeting!


ruchi said...

You are a fracking "trash SUPERSTAR," lady. Congrats. That's awesome.

Wonderer said...

So cool that you got the whole park recycling year round! :-)

Some cup options:


and, they used to have one for hot beverages that was compostable - I don't see it online right now, though... that's disappointing.

scifichick said...

Wow, that's amazing! Good luck this year!

JessTrev said...

That is some unbelievable rockage! I am so impressed with your effort and your success. You are so right that kids have zero difficulty figuring out the importance of recycling.

Anonymous said...

You so totally rock. Like a rocking thing.

Anonymous said...

congratulations on no small feat!

how about a discount on beverages for people who bring their own mugs or a refillable cup for cold drink? what do you do with the recyclables? is there a place nearby where you could recycle some of the items for cash? that money could be put in a coffer to help pay for end of the season parties for the kids.

Cheri said...

WOW, How awesome that you did this! I guess I take it for granted that not all cities, like the one I live in, already have the bins in parks. Congratulations!!!!!
How about a fund raiser selling stainless steel water bottles to reduce use of plastic water bottles? There are a lot of them out on the market now and I imagine you could get a bulk discount. I now refuse to buy water in a plastic bottle. My stainless bottles go with me now.
Hmm... Oh another thing that I have actually thought about tackling is getting public restrooms to use recycled TP! I don't know if it is available in those big rolls though, but it would sure save a lot of trees!!
Good Luck!!!


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