City of Colorado Springs / Environmental Sustainability / Recycling / The Art of Recycling The Art of Recycling
City employees had been recycling paper for years. At the same time, many employees cared enough to take recycling a step further by collecting and sort the recyclables generated in their office areas for recycling at home.
Now that all of the community's waste providers offer single stream recycling, the City too is embracing this new way to recycle. Single-stream recycling and recycling bins can come with a cost, and in 2009 the City was facing a budget crunch and there was no way to pay for these improvements outright. So, the City launched a creative, employee volunteer-driven effort and called it "The Art of Recycling."
The City's recycle bins are created out of cardboard shipping barrel containers used by a company in Denver. Not only are the containers made from recycled materials, but the once they serve their second life as a recycle bin, they can also be recycled. The City's partner in this endeavor, BETTR Recycling, paid for the barrel delivery and information decals.
Then, nearly 50 employees agreed to "adopt" a recycling bin, meaning that they take their area's recyclables to one of a few single-stream drop-off locations.
While functional, the bins don't start out all that attractive. Therefore, the City's Green Team encouraged employees to decorate their barrels. Yet, not all employees chose to decorate a barrel and plenty were still undecorated. Therefore, the City's Green Team worked with the Cottonwood Center for the Arts finding professional artists willing to volunteer their services to also decorate a barrel. Barrel decorators were able to explore what recycling meant to them using a creative process that helped to create ownership. View some of the amazing and creative employee and professional artist-decorated barrels below.
Long-term, as funding allows, City staff are now integrating single-stream recycling into standard janitorial operations.
Since the "Art of Recycling" launched, it's been used to get recycling launched in several grade schools, a college, international business and apartment complex. The City is currently able to make the bins available to those interested in launching recycling at their own facility. Contact Carrie McCausland at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.
Note: We are seeking a large truck owner volunteer to deliver future shipments from Denver.