At the end of the Green Festival, I happened to meet a few members of the inspiring Boonsboro Recycling Task Force. Ten residents of Boonsboro, MD decided that they would just have to organize recycling themselves. What they did can be done by anyone interested in expanding recycling. The Boonsboro crew saw immediately that the DC Recycler had the same goals.
1) Figure out ways to collect recycling that the city doesn't yet recycle. While those in Boonsboro had to organize a recycling dumpster, here in DC you could work with neighbors to find a business that could collect for you. Hill's Kitchen collects Brita water filters for us, which we pick up and send away for recycling.
2) Get the schools recycling. The Task Force started environmental clubs in their high school and middle school. According to DC government, the DC schools are way behind on recycling. If you have a daughter or son in the DC schools and interested in recycling, you can contact the Office of the Chancellor to join the program to start a recycling program in their school.
3) Ask the government to expand recycling. From my experience in government, we always wanted residents to complain and demand better service. If you don't demand, the government officials have no leverage in starting or expanding programs. Just call 311. You can let them know what kind of recycling DC should have, request a recycling bin, ask them recycling questions, report recycling violations (for example, at restaurants), etc.
4) Provide information about what can be recycled and where. The Boonsboro group created a recycling how-to information sheet that was mailed with the residents’ town utility bills. Let your neighbors and friends know about regular DC recycling and new recycling possibilities. Also let the DC Recycler know and we'll post it to the blog!
The Boonsboro group even organized their own Green Festival last year with a recycling collection zone, a kids zone, a clothing swap, and 80 vendors. The Boonsboro group also saw that DC has only 31 recycling cans in public spaces, when little Boonsboro already has more than that! Get some friends/neighbors together and change your world.