Do you love where you live? Is your environment clean, healthy and free of litter? Are you helping to improve the appearance of your community? Even in highly built-up and poor areas, each of us can make a difference as individual. Every little bit helps – each of us can make a contribution to looking after the environment by recycling packaging materials and other items.
But we can do even by pooling resources with others in our communities. If we and our families work with others, we can help limit the amount of space used for landfill and also make our own environment more attractive and healthy. As an example of what can be done, PETCO alone has diverted more than 630 000 tonnes of PET beverage bottles away from landfill in the past decade.
Talk to your neighbours and community representatives
Here are some ideas for smaller and larger activities that you may want to discuss with your neighbours and representatives of your community. In the end, you and the other members will be able to say with more conviction that you love where you live.
- Find out what recycling projects are already being run in your municipal area and make contact with the people running them. You could learn a lot from them, and also consider ways in which your own community can participate as a group.
- Talk to your community representatives and other people with influence, such as schools, churches and sports clubs. They may want to join forces with you to start new projects. Also, some schools and sports clubs already operate small recycling projects and you might want to join their efforts.
- Start a small group of people who can work together. Each person will have some good ideas, and a recycling project is hard to run on your own.
- Find out how your community can benefit from recycling projects – you can earn some good cash from collecting PET bottles, cans, glass bottles, paper and other packaging materials.
- Think of ideas of how you can use the money you earn and tell the community what you are planning to do for them. Every community has needs – even if it is just to buy some trees and other plants or improve on parks and sporting facilities. Organisations like Food and Trees for Africa and Greenpop have some good advice on tree planting projects.
- Involve people who do not have jobs but who are prepared to work. Recycling organisations like the Institute of Waste Management, PETCO and others often run basic training programmes for people who want to start their own mini businesses in recycling. In fact, PETCO enables more than 44 000 people to make a living in this way every year.
- Acquire some centralised bins for specific kinds of materials and put those in a safe area, with someone taking responsibility for those bins. If you work with recycling companies, they will often supply the bins for free.
- Think of some fun events to kick off your recycling projects. A clean-up campaign with a big party at the end for all the kids might be just the thing. For advice about such clean-up campaigns check out Clean-C.
- Consider starting a community vegetable garden. It is a good way to provide fresh and healthy food, and adults and children can all work together to do something that benefits everybody.
- Talk to your local newspaper and community radio and invite them along to your special clean-up events. When other people in the community see such reports, they may become enthusiastic to participate in keeping things clean. Soon you will love where you live even more!